Friendly rivalry fueling Texans’ high-powered offense

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Sam Houston teammates Ervin Hill and Daylon Woods have entered into a spirited competition that neither plans to lose.

Hill, the Texans’ junior starting quarterback, and Woods, the senior starting running back, would like to get the better of the other in rushing yards and touchdowns. However it shakes out, this friendly competition should continue to be a rather unfriendly challenge for opposing defenses.

Hill has the early lead on Woods. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback tops all Arlington-area rushers with more than 600 yards and 10 touchdowns. His astounding performance — 257 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and another 206 yards and three scores passing — in a thrilling 61-51 victory against Fort Worth Paschal last week in the District 3-5A opener marks the second straight game when Hill has rushed more than 200 yards and multiple touchdowns.

Woods’ stats might not match Hill’s to this point. But his performance has been nothing short of impressive. Through four games, he has gone over 100 yards three times and has scored six touchdowns. Plus, Woods has been a factor in the passing game. He turned a short reception into a 24-yard touchdown against Paschal.

“He’s beating me right now,” Woods said of Hill. “We’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”

Hill’s not planning on giving up any ground to his 6-0, 220-pound teammate. “It’s going to continue to be me,” Hill said.

The Texans’ ground game has played a big part in their piling up sizable point totals. Sam Houston is averaging more than 43 points a game and has scored at least 24 points each time out.

Hill points to the offensive line as the key to the offensive onslaught.

“Without our line, you can’t do anything. Everybody’s stepped up,” he said. “We’re getting a great push off the ball. It’s opening up big for me and whoever’s running the ball.”

Like the offensive line, Hill is playing with more confidence these days. He admits that he tended to get nervous last season. “I was all uptight. I wasn’t accurate. Now, this year I’m calm.”

Woods believes he’s gotten better, too. The running back said he’s become a better blocker and learned how to look for open running lanes.

Both he and Hill have a similar attitude on the field, Woods said. “We’re not about doing talking. We’re all about action.”

They may have similar approaches, but the two talented runners have markedly different styles. Hill, who has touchdown runs of 91 and 80 yards this season, tries to avoid defenders, while Woods plays the part of battering ram and runs right at would-be tacklers.

“I’m more finesse and he’s a more powerful running back,” Hill said. “He wants to run you over, and I want to try to get by you.”

As productive as the offense has been, Sam Houston coach Anthony Criss sees room for improvement. The Texans have failed to consistently turn opponents’ turnovers into easy points, and the offense is committing too many penalties, the coach said.

“They know we haven’t arrived yet,” said Criss, who had his skill players run track last spring to improve their speed and endurance. “The kids are striving to get better. They know that offensively we need to help the defense by getting first downs and giving them more rest and we have to reward the defense for getting big stops by cashing those opportunities in for points. We can do better.”

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