Bulldogs aim to get back to playoffs after year absence
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Aug. 30, 2007 - COOPER - With their third different coach in as many years, the Cooper Bulldogs now look to six-year veteran Ronnie Green to lead them to the playoffs.
"As far as the offseason goes, we had a really good transition and Coach (Kris) Boyd left early in the spring," he explained. "We had time to get in all of the offense that we wanted to get in and we didn't work much defense.
"The kids really paid into the system and it looked good by the end of the spring."
Boyd coached the Bulldogs for one season after coach Lance Angel went to Canton before the start of the 2006 season.
The Bulldogs return 10 starters and 12 letterman from a 2-8 team last year and the team hopes to make a changein 2007.
"It was a shock for everybody on the team to go 2-8 last year after normally being a playoff team," Green said. "That is what we talked to the kids about in the spring when we made the change and made the transition to the new year is that we didn't want to be 2-8 again but to make the playoffs."
He said the senior leadership will be key as Sean Witherspoon, Sam Hollenshead, Andre Larry, Garrett McGraw, Jackson Scholta, Garrett Wilson and Ellis Hinsley are playing in their final year for the Bulldogs.
"The leadership of the seniors with only seven or eight seniors back has been good for us," he said. "One of the biggest keys has been that everyone has been really positive this offseason and the biggest positive has been the leadership of the kids."
He said having running backs Larry, Adrian Migura and Gaylon Bacy as targets in the team's wishbone offense along with quarterback McGraw will help the team offensively throughout the season.
"The skill positions look good with the running backs and quarterbacks coming back," the coach said. "We just don't have a lot of depth and the biggest key will be trying to keep kids healthy, and if we get bruised up being able to get them back for us."
Green said along the line he only has three players that are over 200 pounds but his lineman are agile.
"On the line, we don't have anybody that is just too big, but we don't have anybody that is just small and lightweight," Green explained. "We have some pretty good size kids and they can move really well from the center to the tight end."
With a sixth place prediction from Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, the Bulldogs' schedule is one that would give most teams nightmares.
With teams such as Quitman, Teague, Paul Pewitt, Harmony and District 15-2A favorites Clarksville and DeKKalb on the schedule, Green knows the team needs to step up and perform from the opening whistle throughout the year.
"We have a tough non-district schedule with Quitman, Teague and Paul Pewitt," Green said. "Harmony was one of those games we were able to win last year but they are going to be better this year. Our preseason will be really tough this year.
"District will have some front runners and then there will be some that are pretty equal with talent and ability. It is going to be tough for some of us this year. We want to be able to improve each week, get better, stay positive and be focused on where we want to go and get into the playoffs when the time comes."
Aug. 31 at Quitman
Sept. 8 at Harmony
Sept. 14 Paul Pewitt
Sept. 23 Teague (Mesquite)
Sept. 28 at Honey Grove
Oct. 5 DEKALB
Oct. 12 at RIVERCREST
Oct. 19 CLARKSVILLE
Oct. 26 at PRAIRILAND
Nov. 2 PARIS CHISUM
Nov. 9 Open
All District 15-2A games are in ALL CAPS
Coach: Ronnie Green (first year)
2006 Record: 2-8 overall, 1-5 in district
Notes: Coach Ronnie Green takes over the Bulldogs program in place of Coach Kris Boyd who resigned after last season. ... Green will have junior running back Gaylon Bacy back after a sophomore season of 45 carries for 400 yards and one touchdown in the teams wishbone offense. ... On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Ellis Hinsley (90 tackles) will be the anchor of the team this year. ... Other players to watch will be sophomore nose guard Holden Jenkins, Andre Larry, Adrian Migura, Garrett McGraw and Garrett Wilson.