ALVARADO — The Alvarado Indians are set to conclude the regular season Thursday against the Pinkston Vikings in Dallas.
Alvarado secured the District 8-4A Division I title with last week’s 35-14 win over Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins as the Indians will look to end the regular season on an eight-game winning streak.
Facing the last-place Vikings, Alvarado head coach Jeff Dixon said they’re going into Thursday’s showdown at Sprague Stadium focused on self-improvement.
“We’re approaching it as if we’re playing the best in the state,” Dixon said. “We’re just trying to get better. We’re worried about ourselves and the technical things like our first step and our second step. We’ve got to clean up some things like penalties here and there — a hold here, a motion penalty there. Those are things we’re focused on. We want to be sharp. Then we want to reward some of our players by giving them an opportunity to play quite a bit.”
Since the two teams were put in the same district four years ago, Pinkston has been no match for Alvarado. The Indians have beat the Vikings by a combined 132-0 in their first three meetings.
At 1-8 overall this season, Pinkston’s struggles have been magnified in district play; the Vikings have been outscored 250-53 in five league games.
After Alvarado started 0-2 — with those two losses coming against Van (6-3) and No. 4 Decatur (9-0) — the Indians have reeled off seven consecutive wins and have a chance at an 8-2 regular season with a win Thursday. Dixon said entering the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak would be huge.
“We’re going to need that confidence because the region we’re in is a tough path,” Dixon said. “The last time we jumped into the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak, we made it to the semis. We’d love to take that momentum to that level again. But we’re going to take it one game at a time.
“It’s been a while since we practiced on Thanksgiving so that’s a goal of ours. It’s been a while since we’ve been in December. If we reach those two goals, anything can happen. That’s kind of what we’re chipping away at.”
It took only nine games for Alvarado senior running back Colby Sampson to reach the 2,000-yard milestone as he has 2,002 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on 260 carries.
Sampson’s fullback who has been a primary contributor in Sampson’s success has added 593 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 69 carries.
The Indians have averaged 339.4 rushing yards per game as a team through nine games this season.
With such a dominant running game, the Indians don’t need to have an all-state passing attack, but moreso an efficient threat through the air. And senior quarterback Josh Syrus has been that, completing 54 percent of his passes for an average of 13.8 yards per completion with eight touchdowns. Jake McCullough leads the Indians in receiving with 15 catches for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
Alvarado will open the Class 4A Division I playoffs against Paris (6-4).