Not much is certain in this era of Covid-19, but you can bet the Carlisle Indians’ offense will be at full speed when they travel to Class 3A Palestine Westwood for the 2020 season opener for both teams Friday night. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.
Already returning two 1,000-yard rushers in QB Carlos DeLeon and Jamion Turner, the Indians got a boost with even more firepower when last year’s Class A Player of the Year Matthew Rigdon joined the Tribe when his father became a member of the coaching staff.
DeLeon ran for 1,554 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing for 1,347 and 11 TDs. Turner ran for 1,045 yards and 14 scores and caught 26 passes for 380 yards and five more touchdowns.
Rigdon and his brother Griffin led Richland Springs to the Class A Division II state championship last year and Matthew threw and ran for more than 1,000 yards during the 2019 title chase.
“We’ve got some kids that can make things happen when they get the ball in their hands,” Carlisle coach Clay Baker admitted. “Defensively, we’ve got a lot of team speed. We’re physical and we’re fast.”
Turner, a pure running back, has been moved outside to what Baker calls an ‘A’ back in an effort to utilize his speed both as a receiver and runner. Rigdon will move into the backfield and the big 235-pound running back’s bruising style will be another option to go with DeLeon’s speed and quickness.
“The transfers (Rigdon) we’re here all summer in our workouts and Matthew picked up speed, and he weighs a true 235 pounds,” Baker said. “We’ll go to a Wildcat at times when Carlos and Jamion go out wide and Matthew will be at quarterback.
“Our offensive line needs to take some steps forward Friday night,” Baker said. “We have a chance to be pretty good if our offensive line can catch up to our skill people.”
Westwood failed to make the playoffs last year, but Baker said the Class 3A Division I Panthers have a team full of athletes. “Their coach, Richard Bishop, is in his third year and he’s brought a lot of disciple to the program and you can see they’re getting better.”
Westwood is just the first game of what will be a tough non-district schedule, followed by Troup, Alto, and Timpson.