The Calhoun Sandcrabs host the Sharyland Rattlers in the opening round of the Texas UIL Football Playoffs this Friday in Sandcrab Stadium.

The Sandcrabs will be taking on a team that will be throwing the ball a lot more than running it, according to Sandcrabs Head Coach Richard Whitaker.

Whitaker said Sharyland has an “outstanding” quarterback, good-sized receivers, and a running back that runs hard, and their defense is “very silent.”

“Just like last year matching us against Pioneer. That was a tough matchup for the first round. Sharyland is not going to be any different,” Whitaker said.

Sharyland is a perennial powerhouse playoff team, year in and year out, Whitaker said, and they have a lot of experience. He added that his team is preparing for a big game this Friday.

The Calhoun defense will face a challenge this week with cold weather coming down from the north, and Whitaker said not being able to practice outside is concerning.

“When you’re facing a team that is a spread team, you’d love to be outside where you can throw the football around. It’s kind of hard to do that in the gym,” Whitaker said.

The Sandcrabs will prepare for their 11th playoff run under Whitaker, and he said after playing Alice, the team’s motto was to wake up every morning 1-0. They have been preparing for the playoffs for the last six weeks and will continue to stay in that mode in the playoffs.

The Sandcrabs offense will take on a Sharyland team that runs a similar defense to Calallen’s, Whitaker said.

“They run a Base 50 defense just like Calallen, and it is what we run as well, so it is a defense that we are familiar with,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker added he is not sure about the different formations since his team has not played them, but he said it is something that his team will figure out as the game goes on.

Whitaker talked about how his offense did a great job not turning the ball over in critical situations against Calallen, but he is concerned about the penalties.

“We’ll continue to work, trying to clean those things up, and we’ll have the best game plan we can have going into the game on Friday,” Whitaker said.

The Sandcrabs will host a playoff game at home for the first time since 2011, and Whitaker talked about that season and remembered seeing people waiting in line at 7 a.m. getting tickets at the gate.

Whitaker said he is excited for the fans, the community, and his players, especially the seniors.

“It’s always hard towards the end of your senior year, and you say this is the last time I’m ever going to play in Sandcrab Stadium,” Whitaker stated.

Whitaker added in the Calallen game his seniors were determined not to let that game be their last in Sandcrab Stadium.

“I’m proud that they’ll at least play a playoff game there [in Sancrab Stadium], and I’m proud of our community,” Whitaker said. “And I hope it’s a great atmosphere, and I hope our community will come out in support.”

The Calhoun Sandcrabs take on the Sharyland Rattlers this Friday in the Bi-District Playoffs.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.