After a three-year run in the spread offense, the Iowa Park Hawks are changing things up in Aubrey Sims' first season at the helm.
"We're gonna hit 'em in the mouth," says senior lineman Kame Oshiro. "Throw a couple passes every once in a while, but I think this year's going to be more on the ground, running."
"[Our] offense is very aggressive," agrees fellow senior Bryce Skinner, who plays receiver on offense. "We're gonna push the ball, we're going all out."
Sims sums up his offense with the word, 'versatility.'
"I would think we're gonna be able to exploit some things," Sims said. "You know, if the defense is trying to stop the run, I think we've got the capability to throw the ball. If they're going to drop guys into coverage, we have the ability to run the football.
They're still sorting out just who will be pulling the trigger. Both Landen Kimbro and Westyn Swenson are battling it out to see who will start. But Coach Sims says he may not wind up picking a permanent starter.
"It's a very tough decision," Sims said. "You know, they both bring something to the table, and it really again is going to come down to what we need that week."
Defensively, the Hawks are excited about Sims's aggressive philosophy.
"I like it a lot," said Skinner, who also plays linebacker. "It's run to the football, there's not many keys to read. You can just read your one key and you're gone."
"We're a gang-tackling team this year," said senior linebacker and offensive lineman Tanner Lawson. "We're very physical, it's not like the past few years."
Coach Sims says he wants to keep it simple. "I just want them to have fun," he said. "I think if they've got to read to much, it slows them down. So we just want to be aggressive. And you know, sometimes that may put us out of position a little bit, but I'd rather it that way than sitting back on their heels and getting hit in the mouth."
Like Vernon, their district neighbors to the northwest on Highway 287, the Hawks are going through their first training camp on a new turf field. In Iowa Park's case, they've already played a couple games on it, against Hirschi and Vernon last season, but this is their first training camp there.
"I've been on fields where you've got to go out there and mark off holes and fill dirt in," said Coach Sims. "You're always worried about a kid rolling an ankle. And out here, you don't have to worry about any of that."
The hawks also share in the long road trips their new district will entail, including two of the longest trips in the district, to Dalhart (304.2 mi) and Perryton (236.6 mi). The challenge for Coach Sims will be keeping his players focused.
"Just trying to do things right, and not let them get too excited too early," Sims said. "Just try to stay as much on a routine as possible."
"It's gonna be a lot more road travel," Lawson said. "It'll be a lot different - just different people. I look forward to hitting people we haven't played before."
"It's gonna be different, it's gonna be interesting," Skinner said. "On the bus we've got to prepare ourselves on the way there. Once we win, we're gonna party on the way back."
The Hawks open up the season Friday night at 7:30 in Burkburnett for our Week 1 Texas Ford Game of the Week!
Iowa Park Hawks 2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 at Burkburnett, 7:30
Sep. 5 at Cache, OK, 7:30
Sep. 12 vs Decatur, 7:30
Sep. 19 at Mineral Wells, 7:30
Sep. 26 vs Hirschi, 7:30
Oct. 3 vs Wimberley in Brownwood, 7:30
Oct. 10 at Dalhart*, 7
Oct. 17 vs Bushland*, 7
Oct. 24 at Perryton*, 7
Oct. 31 BYE
Nov. 7 vs Vernon*, 7