Kolby Bartlett

Godley coach Curtis Lowery said Kolby Bartlett and the Wildcats will have to be content with consistent four-yard gains in their playoff game vs. an Aubrey defense that doesn’t give up many big plays.

GODLEY — The Godley Wildcats open the Class 4A Division II postseason against a sneakily good Aubrey team Friday in Fort Worth.

Godley (8-2), the No. 2 seed out of District 4-4A DII, and Aubrey (4-6), the No. 3 seed out of District 3-4A DII, are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday from Brewer’s Bear Stadium. Both the Wildcats and Chaparrals are making their fifth consecutive postseason appearance.

The Wildcats are coming off a second-half comeback for a 32-21 win over Hillsboro to secure the second seed out of their district while Aubrey beat Bridgeport, 35-34, to end a two-game losing streak.

While Aubrey won only four games in the 2019 regular season, that isn’t indicative of how good the Chaparrals are. All six of Aubrey’s losses came against teams that qualified for the playoffs and have a combined record of 45-14, including three teams (Pilot Point, Pottsboro, and Iowa Park) that each won at least nine games so far this season.

“They’re really good,” Godley coach Curtis Lowery said. “They’re a good football team. They’re well-coached. They’re disciplined. They’re big. Their record is misleading because they’ve played a strong schedule. We look forward to the challenge but we know we’re going up against a good football team.”

When the Wildcats take the field at Bear Stadium on Friday, Aubrey should have the size advantage as Lowery said the Chaparrals are one of the bigger teams they’ve faced.

“They’re big on their fronts,” Lowery said. “They’ve got really good size on their offensive line and defensive line. And their skill kids are good-sized kids. They’re a big team overall. 

“It’s one of those things where we’ll have to play with good pad level. It’s all about leverage in the trenches. We’re going to have to come ready to play and play with consistently good pad level. They’re a well-coached and big team, so you’ve got to stay down.”

In its four wins this season, Aubrey averaged 39.25 points per game as it possessed the ball behind its Wing-T style offense. In their six losses, the Chaparrals averaged only 21 points per game. Lowery said not allowing Aubrey to hold onto the ball will be a huge key.

“They base out of a Wing-T, but they’ll get in spread also,” Lowery said. “They like to control the clock and hold onto the football. It’s going to be big for us to get some stops and get off the field and not let them hold the football for 12-play drives. We’ve got to get them off the field and get the ball back to our offense.”

While the Chaparrals are a run-first team, they have a passing game to keep defenses honest, Lowery said.

“They will pass, too,” he said. “I would say they’re a predominant run team but they have an effective passing game. They’re not just a run-only team. They run play-action passes off what they do, and they can hurt you with big plays in their passing game.”

While third downs are always key in any football game, facing an offense like Aubrey makes getting stops on first down even more critical for the Wildcat front 7, led by defensive end Landon Stevenson, defensive lineman Tim Zamira, and linebackers Josiah Caro and Mario Hernandez.

“Getting stops on first down is big,” Lowery said. “Playing a team that likes to control the clock and hang onto the football, first downs are absolutely huge, trying to get them behind the chains.”

When the Wildcats have the ball, they’ll face a well-versed Chaparral defense that doesn’t make many big mistakes.

“Defensively they’re a 4-3,” Lowery said. “They’re good up front. You can tell they’ve had their system in place for a while. They know how to get lined up and they’re not going to get beat by alignment. They play fast. They’ve got good speed in the secondary. We’re going to have to put together drives. They’re not a team that gives up big plays, so we’re going to have put drives together and not live and die off big plays.”

Godley’s offense throughout the season has been a big-play offense, with quarterback Ethan McBrayer throwing long TD passes to receivers Brenen Hawkins, Caden Midkiff, and Parker Priddy, along with the occasional big play in the run game from Kolby Bartlett. But come Friday night, Lowery said the Wildcats will have to be content with three- and four-yard gains.

“You’ve got to understand that four-yard gains are good,” he said. “Keep putting drives together and keep moving the football and four-yard gains can turn into bigger gains. You’ve got to stay patient and stay focused on the next play.”

The winner of Godley and Aubrey will advance to the area playoffs and face the winner of Midland Greenwood and Perryton.

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