On paper, Nocona is set up to have a strong season.
Sixteen starters return for the 2012 season, with several
three-year starters back, including the dynamic duo of Tate Fenoglio and Hayden
But, as any head coach will tell you, good on paper doesn't automatically translate to wins.
"It's a different atmosphere than Nocona's had in the past. There haven't been a lot of expectations, and there is this year," head coach Brad Keck said. "A lot of that will be how our seniors handle that and realize they've got to come back and get better every day."
Fenoglio and Hill return to lead the run-heavy, spread-option offense.
Fenoglio received a heavy workload in 2011, carrying the ball 287 times for a school-record 1,926 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"It's awesome having someone else back there, running, doing everything you can do," Hill said. "It takes the pressure off you and opens things up for the offense."
Hill finished with 181 carries for 1,285 yards and 14 touchdowns. He added another 656 yards and three touchdowns passing.
"I love playing with Hayden," Fenoglio said. "It's always good playing next to someone that's as in control as you are."
Keck says the pair of seniors leads quietly, showing by example more than giving speeches.
"They know what it takes to be successful. If the kids will follow them, we'll be in good shape," he said. "It's going to be a sad day around here when they're gone, because they are a lot of fun to coach."
Aside from his dynamic duo, Keck is expecting a lot of his other players on offense, saying there are four to five Indians that they need to focus on giving the ball to. He says that versatility will make Nocona more successful.
The Indians will be tested early, opening the season on the road against Whitewright and Tyrone Swoopes, one of the best player's in the state. Then, they return home to face Muenster, one the top Class A teams in the state.
"We feel like that will be a measuring stick for us at that time," Keck said of the season opener.
8/31 at Whitewright
9/07 vs. Muenster
9/14 at Archer City
9/21 vs. Ponder
9/28 at Valley View
10/12 vs. Alvord
10/19 vs. City View
10/26 at Holliday
11/02 at Jacksboro
11/09 at Henrietta