CISCO, Texas - Caught in a two-game tailspin, the Cisco Junior College Wranglers seek to turn things around Saturday by hosting the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen at 3 p.m. on Chesley Field.
“Our confidence has been slipping these last two weeks,” Cisco third-year head coach and athletic director John Parchman. “We knew going into the season that we had some areas that needed attention, but we haven't been able to generate any consistency on either side of the football.”
Following a 47-13 loss last weekend at Trinity Valley, Texas, the Wranglers stand 0-2 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and 1-3 overall.
During Parchman's first season, the Wranglers finished second in the SWJCFC at 6-4 which was their first winning season since 1997.
Last year the Wranglers posted a 7-3 overall record and were ranked 16th in the final National Junior College Athletic Association/JC Football. com poll.
Cisco finished in a three-way tie with Navarro and Blinn for second with a 4-2 conference mark.
The Wranglers dropped a 24-19 decision to Kilgore College in the semifinals of the conference playoffs.
While the Golden Norsemen hold a 20-6 advantage in the series that began in 1975, the Wranglers are on a two-game winning streak.
Amassing 700 yards in total offense, Cisco rolled to a 46-36 victory over NEO last season at Robertson Field.
Jacques Crawford, the SWJCFC's leading rusher, generated 271 yards on 34 carries and scoring two touchdowns to lead the Wranglers.
Ranking fifth in the conference in total offense with a 360.3 yard-per-game mark, the Wranglers ground game features three running backs with more than 200 yards each.
Freshman Daryl Richardson (5-10, 190 of Elgin, Texas) has gained 242 yards on 32 carries and scored four touchdowns.
Veteran Reggie Dotson (5-11, 180 of Houston, Texas) has rushed for 238 yards on 40 carries with one TD.
Freshman Ketarus Stanton (6-1, 215 of Odessa, Texas) has gained 204 yards on 37 carries with one touchdown.
“Our forte is to line up and run right at you,” Parchman said. “We like to dare the opposition to try and take away our running game.”
“Unfortunately, in our two losses to Trinity Valley and (35-14) Tyler, we've struggled to get any consistency going, so we've simplified our schemes to help.”
Directing the Wranglers passing game is freshman quarterback Alijawon White (6-0, 185 of Wichita Falls, Texas). White has completed 37 of 90 passes for 437 yards and three touchdowns with six interceptions. He has also rushed for 185 yards on 34 carries.
“Alijawon is a ‘work-in-progress' for us,” Parchman said. “He has made some typical freshman mistakes, but he's also a real threat once he gets out on the edge.”
Freshman V'Keon Lacey (6-0, 190 of Spring, Texas) leads the Wranglers with 16 receptions for 228 yards and one TD.
Sophomore Jonathan Craig (5-11, 190 of San Antonio, Texas) has made 11 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown.
“We're averaging right at 395 pounds along our offensive front which makes our ground game so potent,” Parchman said. “We think we can ware a defense down.”
Returning along the interior front is preseason all-american tackle Dimitri Lott (6-3, 303 of Houston, Texas).
While Cisco's offense has some lethal weapons, the defense has struggled by allowing an average of 316.5 total yards per game.
Graduation decimated the Wranglers defensive unit with seven freshmen in the starting unit.
Veteran outside linebackers Dwayne Braziel (6-3, 230 of Galveston, Texas) and Jaamal Washington (5-11, 220 of Mesquite, Texas) return in the middle of the Wranglers defense.
Braziel has recorded 19 total tackles with one quarterback sack for minus-11 yards.
Washington has made 17 tackles.
Sophomore safeties Marc Kinney (6-2, 200 of San Antonio, Texas) and T.J. London (-6-2, 238 of Midland, Texas) bolster the Wranglers secondary.
Kinney leads the Wranglers 21 total tackles and two interceptions.
London has made 18 total tackles with a quarterback sack for minus-14 yards.
“We're making great strides of defense, but it's been a slow process,” Parchman said. “We feel like we have the athletes to get the job done, it's just going to take some time.”