Mustangs battle Quanah in 1A playoffs

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

No one can accuse veteran Quanah football coach James McDaniel of overselling his football team as the Indians prepare for today’s 5 p.m. (CST) second-round Texas Class 1A playoff game against Bovina at Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium.

Quanah (8-2) is coming off a 39-14 first-round win last week over Sunray. Last year, the Indians lost to eventual 1A runnerup Stratford 40-35 in a first-round matchup.

“We don’t have a lot of size,” McDaniel said. “We’ve got a little team speed, but not a lot of team speed. We’re not anything outstanding.

“We’re not a powerhouse by any means. We don’t have those kinds of players.”

Bovina coach Kent Torbert, whose Mustangs (7-3) are coming off a first-round bye and making the school’s first playoff appearance in nine years, believes the Indians are better than McDaniel lets on.

“It’s a tough draw,” he said. “They’re pretty good. There’s a couple of places that have them ranked pretty high (in 1A).”

McDaniel said he expects a rugged game from Bovina, and praised the Mustangs’ defense — in particular, junior nose guard Frank Martinez, who has had 11 sacks and 14 tackles for loss this season.

“He’s one of the best football players we’ve seen this year,” McDaniel said. “Overall, I think their defense is outstanding. They get to the football quick.

“Those guys are a pretty good football team, and their coach will have them well-prepared to play.”

The Mustangs are excited to be in the postseason, Torbert said, adding that they’ve probably exceeded his expectations coming off a 2-8 campaign in 2004.

“I can’t say enough good things about the kids,” he said. “We’ve worked their tails off this year, an they deserve to go.

“We felt like we would be better this year. I didn’t know we’d be this much better, but the kids have stepped up and answered the bell.”

Torbert scouted Quanah’s game last week, and said the bye allowed some injuries to heal.

“We’ve been fortunate we haven’t had many injuries, but we were bumped and bruised,” he said.

The Mustangs played the Amarillo High junior varsity at Dick Bivins earlier this year, something which should help them deal with the atmosphere.

“It’s a different situation, but at least we’ve been there and seen what it’s like,” Torbert said. “I think we’ll be OK if we tackle well and take care of our assignments.”