Lancaster one win from clearing another hurdle

When first-year Lancaster coach Chris Gilbert learned last spring the Tigers hadn’t had a nine-win season in at least 25 years, he made it a goal to end the streak.

That mission was accomplished with last week’s 33-27 Class 4A Division II bi-district victory over Hutto.

The Tigers (9-2) now have a chance to make it to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2000 season if they can pull off an area playoff victory over Kilgore (7-4). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana.

“We’ve yet to play a game when we clicked the way we are capable on both sides of the ball,’’ Gilbert said. “That‘s what we‘re hoping for this week. We’re excited about the way things have been going. The kids are playing with confidence.’’

Lancaster possesses depth at the skill positions and Gilbert is not afraid to utilize it.

The Tigers routinely play three quarterbacks, three tailbacks, three tight ends and five or six wide receivers.

Senior Davon Hodge is the starting quarterback but sophomore Nick Harvey, a starter at defensive back, and junior Demarcus Ayers, a starting wide receiver, are aware they will be under center at some point in every game.

“I’ve never played three quarterbacks because I’ve never had this many weapons,’’ Gilbert said. “The reason it has worked is the unselfishness of our kids. It makes this team special. We’re all able to share in a little bit of the gumbo.’’

Gilbert said he doesn’t have a structured plan of when a quarterback change will be made. If things are going well, he may stick with one or he might change if a couple of series haven’t been successful and the Tigers need a spark.

With running backs, he substitutes according to what kind of run is required.

“I know the strengths of all three,’’ Gilbert said. “Some are better inside, some outside.’’

Defensively, the Tigers are led by their front four of Windell Chalmers, Travion Williams, Daeshon Hall and George Ramos. That foursome figures to be tested by a physical, run-oriented Kilgore squad.

“Kilgore has two really good running backs,’’ Gilbert said. “We’ve got to hold in there and meet them with force.’’

The Lancaster-Kilgore winner will meet the winner of the Frisco-Dallas Lincoln game in the regional round.