Game Night Preview: Panthers vs Buffaloes

Liberty Hill vs. Giddings

Friday, August 31

7:30 p.m. @ Buffalo Stadium, Giddings

Giddings High School

Enrollment: 657

Coach: Chris Jones

Mascot: Buffalo

Colors: Black/Vegas Gold

League: 3A Region IV District 26

The Giddings Buffaloes enter the season with one of the deepest and most talented stables of running backs in the area. Joseph Glenn, a Houston commit, was the district’s offensive MVP last year with 1,514 rushing yards and 14 TDs and junior RB Deon Hickey has the speed to hit a home run each time he touches the ball.

Chris Jones is the new head coach of Giddings. Jones has a 59-33 career record with head coaching stops at Refugio, La Marque, and most recently, Post. He inherits a team with quarterback Spencer Fitzhenry at the helm, who along with Glenn and Hickey makes for a backfield full of speed.

Typically, Jones runs a spread offense, but with so much talent in the backfield he will likely just elect to hand the ball off or pitch it from the shotgun formation.

“That’s kind of the enigma of this thing,” said Liberty Hill Head Coach Jerry Vance. “Coach (Chris) Jones has been a spread coach for a long time. He was spread and then in both of his scrimmages he’s run everything from a shotgun formation, the quarterback has not been under (center). So how they take advantage of (Joseph Glenn) will probably be from a pistol formation to pitch him the ball or hand him the ball. They were very heavily pass-oriented in the two scrimmages. I think they will throw a lot more than people anticipate.”

Defensively, the Buffaloes are led by first team all-district selections Jacob Satterfield and Jacob Krchnak. And Kicker Michael Rangel is a weapon who earned first-team 23-3A honors last season.

Liberty Hill’s offense, the Slot-T, is just the opposite of the spread that Giddings will run and the Panthers’ defensive backfield will certainly be tested. But with a heavy ground game that eats up clock and maintains possession. The offense is Liberty Hill’s “best” defense as Coach Vance likes to say.

Needless to say, Giddings is a tough opponent for the Panthers to open up against, especially on the road.

Coach Vance wants his players to be excited and play all out. He knows mistakes will likely come, especially in the first game of the season. But he will live with mistakes made in the heat of competition.

“It’s a kickoff to the new season and I want them to be excited and not to be nervous,” Vance said of his team. “I want them to go out there and play as hard as they can and I think they will. Everybody is going to make mistakes. That’s just human nature. But if you go out there and make mistakes full speed we can correct those mistakes. It’s those hesitations that you have a problem with.”

The 82-mile drive to Buffalo Stadium – located at 1600 N. Main Street in Giddings (78942) – will be split up with a pit stop for players to fuel up and for coaches to keep preparing.

“This week we will get everybody out in sixth period and get down (to the field house) and get our bags packed and get on the bus,” Vance explained. “We will go to Taylor or Elgin and get off the bus and have a bite to eat and go through walkthroughs so when we get there all we have to do is get dressed and get on the field.”

-Joseph Garcia