Thanks to its 63-49 victory over Waxahachie last Friday night, the Mansfield Lake Ridge football team is back in the playoffs for a third consecutive season. And when their 5A Division I bi-district opponent, Crowley, starts to prepare for the Eagles, they’ll have something else to worry about.
Sophomore Chandler Rogers hadn’t been a major factor in the Eagles’ offense until Friday night, when the backup quarterback exploded for seven rushing touchdowns.
“It was just excitement and joy. My parents were there, my friends were there,” Rogers said of the performance.
Lake Ridge coach Kirk Thor told Rogers earlier in the week to be prepared to play a more significant role against Waxahachie. He responded with 192 yards rushing on 21 attempts. Thor said the decision to utilize Rogers was somewhat based on what the Waxahachie defense was doing.
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“He’s always been able to run the football and do it well,” Thor said of Rogers. “[Starting quarterback Jason Bean] throws the ball really well for us and had some big runs as well. We just felt like there are a couple of plays Chandler is really good at, and they were giving us the quarterback run game, so he came in and did a good job.”
Despite the school-record-setting success, Rogers is content that his role remains as the backup.
“It doesn’t change my mental approach at all,” he said. “We all have a role in every part of this team and we just play our role. When I get in, I make the most of the time I get.”
It’s to be seen how much Rogers will feature against those other Eagles from Crowley. Thor said they’ll prepare some packages for Rogers, but that flow of the game will largely dictate what happens with the quarterbacks.
“It’s a good problem to have, two good quarterbacks,” Thor said. “It just gives us one more thing defenses have to look at to defend.”
Rogers wasn’t completely foreign to the field prior to Friday. He stepped in for an injured Bean during the game against Mesquite Poteet in Week 3 and posted 52 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, adding a TD pass and 139 yards through the air.
Regardless of who takes the snaps for Lake Ridge, you can bet the two quarterbacks will be one another’s biggest fans.
“[Their relationship] is awesome,” Thor said. “They get along really well. They care about the team first and they’re really mature kids. It’s nice to see in this day and age of the me-first culture. Jason has helped mentor Chandler and helped him grow a little bit.”
“Ever since I stepped in as a freshman, he’s been there for me and helped a lot,” Rogers said.
A season removed from the 5A Division I championship game, the Eagles had to rescue their postseason hopes in the regular-season finale and responded well, perhaps finding an additional weapon just as they head into the win-or-go-home postseason.
“We’re really fortunate to have two quarterbacks who are very talented in what they do and they’ve got a different strength as far as skill set,” Thor said. “I think it really gives us an advantage having both.”