GRANDVIEW — Coming off their first loss in 399 days, the Grandview Zebras look to wrap up the regular season with a win over rival Maypearl on Friday.
The Zebras (8-1, 4-1) dropped from No. 1 in Texas Football’s Class 3A Division I rankings to No. 2 after last week’s 26-21 loss to Whitney. It was Grandview’s first loss since week 5 last season vs. West.
Grandview head coach Ryan Ebner said they’re hoping to build off some things they noticed in the loss to Whitney.
“You’re able to pinpoint some things and show some things to the guys that have been going on for more than one or two games and show them what we need to work on,” Ebner said. “You learn certain things as a coach you need to look at or call different. It kind of heightens the intensity and focus for that week after having however many weeks of winning games. It just brings you back to reality and you’re able to focus and look at things in a different light.”
From before the season began, Grandview has had to shuffle multiple players in different positions due to injuries or sickness. And that hasn’t let up recently. But Ebner refuses to use those unfortunate injuries as an excuse.
“We’re just looking to get better,” he said. “We’ve got some guys banged up. So you want to see who’s going to fill in for those guys. You also want to implement the things we’ve been focusing on. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to get better any way possible.
“We’ve got one more dress rehearsal and then it’s your third season. So we want to get prepared and be ready for our third season.”
Maypearl has struggled to a 3-6 overall record and a 1-4 mark in District 9-3A DI, but Ebner said the Panthers do some good things on the field.
“Offensively, they have a couple quarterbacks they use,” Ebner said. “One is a little bit more of a thrower, one is a little bit more of a runner. So you’ve got to prepare for both. I feel like their running back runs the ball hard. They’ll give you different formations and they’re not afraid to run some trick plays at you. So you have to stay focused and pay attention at each level and make sure you’re doing your job.
“Defensively, they spread their defense out and do a good job of running to the ball. They bring some pressure sometimes but they have a bend-but-don’t-break mentality. They force you to put long drives together to get in the end zone.”
With Grandview looking to overcome a number of injuries to prepare for the defense of their state title, Ebner said they’re going into the Maypearl game focused on doing the fine details the right way.
“We’re just trying to take the whole situation and play a good, solid game,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do. Offensively, defensively and special teams, we just want to play solid football. Make sure we’re running good routes, ball protection, staying on blocks, taking good angles — just do the small things that make a good football team. After that we’ll reassess and get ready for the playoffs.”
Kickoff between the Zebras and Panthers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday from Zebra Stadium.