If there’s one thing Rouse has shown its ability to do well early in the season, it’s run the football.
The Raiders have averaged nearly 250 yards per game over the first two games of the year, and they will put that rushing attack to work when they host East View on Friday night at Bible Stadium.
“We love to run the ball,” Rouse head coach Josh Mann said. “We’ve got big offensive linemen. It’s one of our calling cards to be physical. You see opponents that want to spread out and throw that ball and we can make it work to our advantage.
The Patriots wanted to commit to the defensive side of the ball before the season started. But in their first game of the year, a 48-36 loss to Hays, they gave up nearly 500 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Sophomore Mylan Mitchell has been the biggest addition to the Rouse offense, running for 294 yards and three touchdowns in two games. He has eclipsed the entry mark in both contests, going for 100 yards against Manor and 194 last Friday against Westwood.
“He’s humble and he’s a great young man,” Mann said. “He doesn’t even see himself as a starter. He loves just going out there and competing. He’s quiet and he doesn’t talk a lot and he lets his actions speak for his words.”
Rouse opened the season with a 42-13 loss to Manor. Ethan Moore finished 7-of-21 for 60 yards and an interception in his starting debut. Isaiah Poston caught four passes for 35 yards and Taye Biel had three for 25 to go along with Mitchell’s big rushing game.
The Raiders rallied in Week 2, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come eat Westwood 35-21. Moore took a big step forward, showing for 221 yards and two touchdowns with Biel and Poston each catching one.
Mann said the biggest thing they took away from the first to send week is simply experience.
“Each game we’re getting better at what we’re doing,” Mann said. “We have a lot of young kids that are taking snaps for the first time on Friday night, so every opportunity for them to get out there and play, they’re just getting better and more comfortable.”
This will be just the second time the Patriots and Raiders will meet. Rouse dominated to open district play last season as the team combined to pass for 289 yards two scores and ran for another 343 and seven touchdowns in a lopsided 65-40 win.
Following the district opener with the Patriots, Rouse takes on rival Cedar Park at Gupton Stadium next Friday night before hosting Cedar Creek on Sept. 6 at Bible Stadium.
“It’s unbelievably important to start the district strong,” Mann said. “In this district, you can’t overlook any opportunity to get a win. If you start 1-0 in this district, you ahead of the curve.”