Posted: 3:15 pm Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Breaking down Glades Central vs. Denison in Texas 

By Jeff Greer

Glades Central can’t get enough of these Texas teams. Two weekends ago, the Raiders indulged in some smash-mouth football en route to a 6-0 win over Dallas-Skyline in Daytona Beach.

Skyline’s defense was littered with major Division I prospects. This time around, the opponent isn’t nearly as frightening.

The top-ranked Raiders take on Denison (0-2) at Ben Dial Stadium in DeSoto, Texas, at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Denison went 25-3 over its past two seasons but has struggled so far in 2010. The Yellowjackets have allowed 854 rushing yards in their first two losses, both of which were blowouts.

With that in mind, Glades Central coach Jessie Hester said the Raiders will need to scale back their pass-heavy offense and take advantage of Denison’s vulnerability on the ground.

“We’re going to have to fight our craving to pass,” Hester said, laughing. “We try to strike fear in opponents with a quick-strike offense, but we have to change that this week and work with what they give us.”

Finding some go-to rushing options won’t be hard. Running back Dominique Gibson rushed for 82 yards and the game’s only touchdown against Skyline. Tyrone Page, a transfer from Royal Palm Beach, added 42 yards off 11 carries.

Page may see more touches this weekend; Gibson is fighting an upper chest contusion that he suffered on the opening kickoff against Skyline. He played through the pain, which took several days to subside.

Still, the injury has bothered Gibson, who had some difficulty breathing and sharp pain caused by the deep bruise. Hester and his staff are still monitoring Gibson.

“The way he plays, he’s a very physical kid, so we want to make sure he’s OK,” Hester said. “We’ll keep an eye on him.”

With the focus on the running game, there’s a chance play-action and deep threats will open up for new quarterback Jamarious Rowley. The senior struggled in his first game as the Raiders’ signal caller, completing 9 of 23 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions.

Two weeks of film and practice should solve Rowley’s issues. The 5-foot-9 Rowley hurried a lot of his passes and, by his own admission, left the pocket prematurely too often against Skyline.

“He wants to try and do it all,” Hester said. “But with the talent he has around him, he doesn’t have to do that. He’s realized that now.”

Part of Rowley’s struggles occurred because Glades Central only had tape of Skyline from last season. The Dallas team mixed up some of its schemes and added new wrinkles that Rowley couldn’t have caught on tape.

“To come out of the gate against a team like (Skyline) and not really have too much of an idea of what they’re going to do is tough,” Hester said. “He had trouble. But this week, we are far more adequately prepared. We have a good game plan for him.”

Glades Central will leave for Texas on Friday morning. The Raiders will have a walk-through at the stadium, which holds 10,000. Hester wanted his team to get familiar with the surroundings and “see some really, really nice facilities.”

“We want to build up their envy a little bit,” Hester joked. “Show them how Texas treats its high school football.”

On Saturday, Glades Central wants to show Denison how Florida plays its high school football.

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