‘Boot Game’ could swing on turnovers
Turnovers can be a bummer in football. They can be an even bigger bummer in rivalry games.
Turnovers swing momentum and sometimes, give teams short fields to work with at crucial moments.
According to both coaches involved in Friday’s “Hall of Fame/Boot Game,” winning the turnover battle will be crucial.
In the past five games in this friendly rivalry series, the team that won the turnover battle also won the game.
Burleson (5-1, 2-1) hosts Centennial (3-3, 2-1) in the BISD showdown at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burleson ISD Stadium. Burleson leads the series, 3-2. Centennial won the last meeting, 28-10.
Centennial has had trouble with turnovers this season. The difference lately for the Spartans is that they have been forcing some turnovers. The Spartans come into the game on a two-game winning streak with wins at Cleburne and at home over Arlington Seguin.
“If you look at the history of the game, turnovers have always been the biggest factor,” Geller said. “So, I think protecting the football and getting a take away or two on defense will be big for both teams.”
The Elks had been great at protecting the ball to start the season. Through the first four games, Burleson didn’t turn the ball over. But in the last two games, the Elks have developed a penchant for turning over the ball. Burleson turned the ball over four times in a win over Joshua, then lost the ball three times in a loss to Everman.
“I think the turnover battle is going to be big,” McElroy said. “We’ve made some mistakes the last two weeks. We have to fix that. If we play clean and our defense can get some takeaways from them, I think that will be a feather in our cap.”
Geller added that penalties and finding a way to finish off drives with touchdowns will be crucial Friday night.
“Penalties have also played a factor in the series,” Geller said. “Scoring inside the red zone is key. Couple of years ago, we didn’t score a few times when we were in the red zone and that cost us.”
This season, Burleson special teams have been excellent. The Elks have found the end zone on kick returns and kick coverage, and punting has pinned opponents and has also flipped field position.
“Special teams have been really good for us,” McElroy said. “We got a safety against Everman after our kickoff team pinned them at the goal line. If we can win the field position battle, we should have a good chance to win the game.”