Nolan Catholic football seeks 3rd straight TAPPS title

Posted Monday, Dec. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Nolan Catholic is in a familiar spot: the TAPPS state title game.

The Vikings (9-4) will be going for their third straight Division I championship Friday night when they meet Plano Prestonwood (12-1) at Tiger Stadium in Corsicana.

Nolan, which lost to Prestonwood six weeks ago, has navigated its way to Friday’s rematch through its own reliable formula: Run the ball, limit mistakes, take advantage of opportunities.

“We’re not dependent on throwing it 40 or 50 times a game,” coach Joe Prud’homme said. “That works well in August and September, but in November and December, it gets dicey.”

Last Friday’s 55-20 victory over Argyle Liberty Christian was a near-perfect display of that, Prud’homme said. The Vikings racked up 339 rushing yards, averaging 6.32 yards a carry. Quarterback Jacob Walden wasn’t explosive through the air, but he was efficient, completing 5 of 8 passes for 78 yards. And on defense, Nolan was sparked by a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown by Miles Murray to start the night’s scoring.

“I thought we played really, really well,” Prud’homme said. “We went in with a plan, and there was very little to no deviation from it.”

The Prestonwood Lions beat Nolan 36-34 on Oct. 26.

“They’re incredibly athletic,” Prud’homme said. “They fly to the ball. They’re very aggressive.”

If not for Prestonwood’s 2010 title-game win against Nolan, the Vikings would be seeking a sixth consecutive TAPPS title. Nolan’s half-dozen championships since 2004 are very much a part of the 2013 team, too.

“They’ve all contributed in some way through the years,” Prud’homme said. “It helps. Every time they get that experience, all that layers itself over a number of years. Most of our seniors have been a part of it. They understand what the stakes are. That helps a lot. That to me is the biggest thing going for us is that we’ve been there so many times. There’s kind of an expectation.”

Focus on the details

How do you oil a well-oiled machine?

That’s the task Aledo coach Tim Buchanan and his coaching staff have ahead of them this week as the 13-0 Bearcats prepare for a Class 4A Division II state quarterfinal game against 8-5 Wichita Falls.

“The biggest deal is just work on little things,” Buchanan said. “My coaching philosophy has always been take care of the little things and winning will take care of itself. We found a lot of little things we did wrong on Saturday that the coaches spent the majority of Sunday trying to fix.”

Aledo got out to a 27-0 first-quarter lead to beat previously undefeated Canyon 54-14 last week. The Bearcats play Wichita Falls on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Justin Northwest ISD Stadium. Wichita Falls went 5-5 in the regular season, but the Coyotes have been a dangerous team to face in the playoffs, Buchanan said.

Keeping his team’s focus on this week’s game, and not on a potential semifinal matchup with Ennis or Mesquite Poteet — two teams with explosive offenses — will be the goal for Buchanan.

“First time we overlook somebody, it’s going to be Wichita Falls playing Ennis or Poteet,” Buchanan said. “They’ve got a football team that can very easily beat us if we don’t play well.”

Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST

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