San Augustine Looks to Keep Momentum Going After 7-0 Start
San Augustine coach Marty Murr said his team had two goals coming into the 2017 season: improve on the offensive line to strengthen the offense, and get better overall on defense.
So far, so good.
The 7-0 Wolves, ranked 11th in this week's Associated Press Poll, have cruised through their first seven games, to say the least, averaging nearly 40 points per game on offense and an opponent hasn't scored more than seven points since Week 1.
"Our skill kids on offense are all good and our offensive line getting better strengthened that, and on defense we changed our scheme from a 3-4 to a 4-2-5 look and put some athletes at defensive end," Murr said on Tuesday. "The kids are moving the ball well and are playing pretty aggressively on defense."
Spearheading the Wolves' vaunted offense is, for the last year, Murr's son, Gavin Murr. The senior quarterback has led a balanced attack that has racked up 1,478 rushing yards and 1,311 passing yards so far this season. Murr has completed 65 percent of his passes for all 1,311 yards with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.
"He has a lot of added responsibility being a coach's son, but he's been on the sidelines with me since he was 6 years old, week in and week out," Murr said. "His preparation is pretty phenomenal and he leads us well. Even with his dad as a coach, there are no ups and downs with Gavin. He's the same leader whether things are going good or bad."
Eight different players have caught passes from Murr this season, a solid feat for any team but moreso for a Class 2A school. Five different players have at least 11 catches this season, with QuenTyvian Borders (17 catches, 250 yards, six touchdowns), Delkristoffher Wade (20 catches, 264 yards, three touchdowns), Ced Thomas (21 catches, 219 yards, two touchdowns) and Quay Johnson (12 catches, 22 yards, one touchdown) leading the way.
"The big thing for me is at the big schools you can play spring ball, and you can't at small schools. So the only way you can get your kids to think about football in the spring or summer is to do seven-on-seven," Murr said. "Playing seven-on-seven and going to the state tournament was huge for us. The more they do together, the better the chemistry."
Defensively, San Augustine has pitched two shutouts this season while allowing seven or fewer points in four other games. The Wolves' 48 points allowed so far this season is the best in East Texas, outside of West Rusk's 31.
San Augustine has also forced 18 turnovers in seven games.
One of the big reasons for that success, Murr said, was moving faster athletes to the defensive end spot -- the Wolves have 11 sacks and 33 tackles for loss this season -- and the decision to move Quay Johnson to inside linebacker.
"(Johnson) has been beyond all our expectations. He is just flying to the football," Murr said. "Once he made that adjustment, the other kids saw it and it was just contagious. He's been huge for us."
With three games left in the regular season, San Augustine is readying itself for its three biggest tests in a stacked District 11-2A Division I. Alto, Joaquin and Carlisle are the teams that await the Wolves, with Alto up this Friday in one of ETSN.fm's top 25 games of 2017.
Alto is coming off a 31-28 win against Carlisle after dropping its first district game to Joaquin, which is 2-0 in district alongside San Augustine. The Wolves lost last year's matchup, 44-39.
"It's Alto so of course it's a big game. Through the years San Augustine hasn't been as good against Alto as other teams," Murr said. "But the team that makes the fewest mistakes and holds on to the ball will probably win it, just like any other big game. We're excited about it. It's going to be fun."