Last Call: Lee has one more chance to make a mark


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Robert E. Lee's Le Terrance Simmons high steps through the tackle of Longview's Tory White last Friday. (Herb Nygren Jr. | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

ROCKWALL — A win Friday could cure many ills for Robert E. Lee.

 Snap a 10-game district losing streak

 End a five-game losing streak overall

 Be the first district success for new head coach Darrell Piske and his staff

A Lee victory will also potentially muddy Rockwall-Heath’s postseason aspirations as the Red Raiders (1-8, 0-5 in 12-5A) and Hawks (5-4, 2-3) meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium.

Piske said the losing streak has been tough on the players, but also his staff. Lee defensive coordinator Shane Andrews was part of the Waco Midway staff that reached the Class 4A championship game last year. Piske and offensive coordinator Dan Roberson helped lead Class 3A Fairfield to a 10-0 regular season.

“It’s tough on the coaches; we never like Week 10 to be our last one,” Piske said. “It’s never a good feeling as a coach.”

The Red Raiders are one game away from an offseason that Piske has jokingly said will be like a boot camp. But there are 32 seniors currently on the roster and Piske and his staff want to send them out with a win.

“Those guys who’ve put up with four years of not very good football and they’ve still hung in there and they show up and come to practice each day,” Piske said. “We want to send them off on a good note where they can feel good about winning their final game. It would also send us into the offseason on a positive note.”

It is the first-ever meeting between Rockwall-Heath and Lee. The Hawks sport the second-best passing offensive in the district, led by senior quarterback Chase Shultz (1,549 yards, 12 TDs) and his No. 1 receiver, Shyon Motlagh (45 catches, 713 yards, 10 TDs).

Piske said Lee’s defense will need to apply some pressure on Shultz, but added he’s also a threat to run. As for Motlagh, Piske hopes his team can slow the 6-2 senior down a little bit.

“Their quarterback does a good job of finding open guys and if you pressure him and not stay in your correct lanes, he’s going to take off running,” Piske said. “Motlagh is a college recruit and he’s a pretty good athlete, but they have some to go along with him.”

The Red Raiders offense has been stagnant for much of district play with Lee scoring 10 points or less in its past four league outings. Piske said he will utilize both junior quarterbacks Raleigh Poster (49 of 104 for 584 yards, two TDs) and Christian Diosdado (13 of 22 for 90 yards) and plans on riding the hot hand at some point.

Lee’s running game was halted last week by Longview, which held the Red Raiders to 66 yards. Even with last week’s struggles, REL enters this game averaging 167 yards rushing per game and will look to take advantage of a Rockwall-Heath defense giving up an average of 185 yards on the ground.

“They are huge up front (on defense) and linebacker (Raaquan) Davis is really good, so we have to him blocked,” Piske said. “Teams have hit some creases and been able to use their speed on the edge. You can run at them if you get it walled and hit the crease, but (because of their size) you can’t dance back there.”

Defensively, Lee is allowing a 180 yards passing per game, and against the high-powered Hawks, Piske wants his defenders to make Rockwall-Heath work for its yardage.

“We can’t give up the deep ball on the pass,” Piske said. “As good as they’re throwing it, you are going to give up some underneath stuff. We are going to have to pressure the quarterback and tackle well.”

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Probable Starting Lineups

Offense

ROBERT E. LEE — QB 13 Christian Diosdado (Jr.), RB 21 Le Terrance Simmons (Sr.), FB 34 Chris Manuel (Sr.), TE 87 Matthew Weeks (6-4, 250, So.), RT 71 Ian Chase (6-4, 3-5, Sr.), RG 75 Lane Haeger (6-2, 240, Sr.), C 64 Josh Wyscarver-Smith (6-1, 240, Sr.), LG 74 Ryan Rendon (6-1, 255, Jr.), LT 77 Zacchaeus Page (6-4, 280, Sr.), WR 22 Bryce Wilkerson (5-7, 155, Jr.), WR 11 Jay Roberson (Sr.), K 37 Lumi Kaba (Sr.).

ROCKWALL-HEATH —QB 2 Chase Schultz (6-2, 195, Sr.), RB 20 Rico Henderson (5-10, 185, So.), WR 14 Shyon Motlagh (6-2, 175, Sr.), 7 WR Kevin Wharry (5-10, 165, Sr.), WR 8 Caleb Moss (6-2, 190, Jr.), WR 6 R.J. Williams (5-8, 165, Jr.), LT 70 Garrett Westphal (6-2, 215, Sr.), RG 53 Roby Worley (6-0, 245, Sr.), C 68 Peter Scheele (5-11, 190, Jr.), RG 64 Sterling Stutts (6-2, 245, Sr.), RT 74 Trevor Elbert (6-5, 285, So.).

Defense

ROBERT E. LEE — DE 29 Etim Asangansi (5-10, 230, Jr.), NT Triston Taylor (6-1, 290, Jr.), DE 99 Delkei Derrett (6-1, 245, Sr.), OLB 26 Teddy Matlock (So.), OLB 35 Deontay Walker (Sr.), ILB 47 Roderick Gaines (So.), ILB 32 (Brandon Durman (So.), S 6 Greg Lavely (Jr.), FS 15 Rezzin Pullum (5-10, 175, Sr.), CB 8 Bryce Stewart (Sr.), CB 3 Davier Harris (5-10, 155, Sr.).

ROCKWALL-HEATH —LDE 9 Patrick Baires (5-9, 175, Sr.), LDT 77 Ethan Dobbs (5-10, 263, Sr.), RDT 56 Evan Higbee (6-0, 255, Sr.), RDE 85 Jay Arnold (6-5, 255, Sr.), SLB 15 Brett Hicks (5-11, 195, Sr.), MLB 21 Clay Wilkerson (5-10, 189, Jr.), WLB 19 Raaquan Davis (6-3, 210, Sr.), CB 16 Justin Peters (5-9, 165, Jr.), CB 7 Kevin Wharry (5-10, 165, Sr.), SS 12 Kyle Loeffler (6-0, 180, Sr.), FS 8 Caleb Moss (6-2, 180, Jr.).

ROBERT E. LEE at ROCKWALL-HEATH

Where: Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium, Rockwall (field turf, 8,330)
Radio: KTBB 600-AM, Tyler
Records: Rockwall-Heath 5-4 (2-3 in District 12-5A); Robert E. Lee 1-8 (0-5 in 12-5A)
All-Time Series: First meeting
2012 Results:  Sulphur Springs, L 35-34 (OT); Lufkin, L 41-31; John Tyler, L 21-0; Texas High, W 23-7; Mesquite Horn, L 49-24; North Mesquite, L 27-7; Rockwall, L 40-0; Mesquite, L 51-9; Longview, L 52-6.
Players to Watch: Rockwall-Heath — QB Chase Shultz (Sr.), RB Rico Henderson (So.), WR Shyon Motlagh (Sr.), LB Raaquan Davis (Sr.), FS Parker Wood (Jr.). Robert E. Lee — WR Bryce Wilkerson (Jr.), RB Marcus White (Sr.), LB Deontay Walker (Sr.), FS Rezzin Pullum (Sr.).
Statistical Leaders: Rockwall — Shultz (Passing: 146-227-1549 12 TDs, 6 INTs; Rushing: 79-336-5 TDs), Henderson (Rushing: 106-619-3 TDs; Receiving: 29-170, TD), Motlagh (45-713-10 TDs). Robert E. Lee — White (Rushing: 70-377, 2 TDs), WR Wilkerson (Receiving: 14-216, 2 TDs), Le Terrance Simmons (Rushing: 42-290. 2 TDs).
Quick Slant: Rockwall-Heath can assure itself a playoff spot with a win while Lee just wants to have a positive memory to take into the offseason. The Hawks sport a prolific passing offense (1,971 yards), led by Motlagh, who  was held to four catches for 37 yards. Heath receiver R.J. Williams picked up the slack with 85 yards receiving. Henderson is overshadowed a little because of the passing game, but he still torched North Mesquite for 127 yards and a TD. The Red Raiders offense will look to open up its passing game as REL is averaging 89 yards though the air per game. The Red Raiders also need to limit their turnovers (-10 overall ratio) and force a couple themselves. REL’s defense hasn’t produced a turnover in five games. REL continues to put extra work on special teams as the Red Raiders allowed on onside kick against them in the loss last week to Longview and also had an extra point blocked.
Quotable: “We are going to be a lot better on special teams and not let them pull any stuff, unlike last week. It’s pretty unusual our turnover (drought), but to force a turnover, you have to hit somebody and we’re not being physical tacklers. You’ve got to get there and make solid contact to force those turnovers.”