Classic Offense Has Lions Roaring Again

After struggling for a few seasons trying to run the spread offense, the Vernon Lions returned to their roots last year, reinstalling the Wing-T under new Head Coach Mark Bateman.

"Well that's what Vernon has been known for, is running the football," Bateman said. "They've run it out of different things, the Wing-T before when coach [Leo] Brittain was here."

"We had been running it ever since we were younger, so we were pretty much used to it," says senior receiver and cornerback Ben Owen. "The spread was new to us, but we did good in the Wing-T."

The Lions return ten starters from a team that went 9-3 last season, including star running backs Orlando Hayman and Danny Valverde. The dynamic duo will be key for Vernon's rushing attack this year.

"Orlando and Danny did a great job of running the football for us," Coach Bateman said. "And it's going to be fun to watch them play again."

"In the spread, we could only have one back there at a time," Owen said. "We've got both of them back there and that's a good duo back there."

Senior wingback Zack Perez agreed: "With them, we can bust through the middle with Orlando hard, or bust outside with Danny."

Senior David Garza will start at quarterback this season. He was used last year mainly as a defender, but does have some experience under center.

"He had a good spring and good summer," Bateman said. "Looking forward to some good things out of him because he's a playmaker on both sides."

"Brandon Urquizo, he left some big shoes to fill," Owen said. "But I think David will do alright, he's a good athlete and he makes plays."

With Friday's kickoff just two days away, the anticipation of Friday night football in Vernon is almost too much to handle.

"The bands will be there, the popcorn will be popping, cheerleaders on the sidelines, and fans in the stands," Coach Bateman said. "It will be fun, that's what it's all about."

The bands, popcorn and cheerleaders will be in Altus, Oklahoma Friday night as the Lions kick off the season at 7:30 p.m.