WEST COLUMBIA — A 3-0 record doesn’t mean the Columbia Roughnecks are playing as well as they could be, head coach Brent Mascheck said.
“We are very happy to be 3-0, but we know we have things to work on to get better at,” Mascheck said. “We have yet to play a complete game, because we need to clean up the pass protection along with some things in our running game. Defensively we played well last week, but we can still play better than that.”
This week’s opponent could provide the Roughnecks’ toughest challenge yet. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Stingaree Stadium in Texas City because of problems with the Cougars’ home field.
Columbia’s Wing-T misdirection offense has kept opposing defense off balance all season, accumulating 1,002 yards on the ground. Jordan Woodard is averaging better than 10 yards a carry, racking up 272 yards on 24 runs. Jame’son Rebector, who has 211 yards on 24 carries, and Jamaurion Woodard, whose 23 totes have covered 191 yards, are not far behind. Dez Fields has 14 attempts for 110 yards to lead a deep cast of effective ball-carriers for the Roughnecks.
La Marque’s defense could stand in the way of Columbia pounding the rock. The Cougars have allowed only 230 yards on the ground in three games and are giving up just 177.3 yards a contest.
Mascheck has faith in his team’s ability to execute its run game.
“I know one thing for sure is that we are going to compete 100 percent every snap, and I’ve been pleased with the depth of this team,” Mascheck said. “We’ve had some injuries and we’ve had some kids step up and do a good job for us. But I really think our offensive line is really gelling together. Right now our pass protection has had some issues, but all of it is fixable.”
And they are working to fix it, Mascheck said.
“We want to throw the ball 10 to 15 times a game, but we’ve had some good opportunities,” he said. “However when a player misses an assignment it just messes up the play, so we’ve had some lapses in our passing game. But I feel like the passing game is coming.”
The Cougars are 2-1 overall and coming off a 31-6 whipping of Hitchcock last week. La Marque’s offense is gaining just 163.3 yards a game, but has outscored opponents 57-26.
Sophomore quarterback Armond Robinson is a bigger threat on the ground as he leads the team in rushing with 140 yards on 31 carries and four scores. Through the air, Robinson has only completed 8-of-20 attempts for 90 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“They have so much tradition and those kids play at a high rate of speed and physicality,” Mascheck said. “Defensively, it seems like they have 15 guys flying to the football because they are so fast. Offensively their quarterback is young, but he can make some plays. So there are going to be athletes all over the field.”
The Cougars and Roughnecks have played a dozen times since their first meeting in 1951, with La Marque dominating the series with nine wins. But Columbia has won the last two, including a 29-15 victory in 2017.