The Burkburnett Bulldogs made the playoffs last year, for the seventh season in a row.
That's the longest stretch for any Texoma 11-man team, and they're hoping to make it eight this year.
Their district got shaken up a bit by realignment, losing Iowa Park and Vernon while adding Mineral Wells, Decatur and Gainesville. But Burkburnett is fortunate that they faced all three of their new opponents in non-district play last year.
"It's going to help us a lot," said senior quarterback Bryan Lewis. "Because we'll be familiar with the players, the kind of skill sets they have."
Fellow senior Hayden McLelland added, "We'll know how good they are, how fast they are, how strong they are."
For the Bulldogs, the strength on offense will be their skill position players.
Lewis returns for his third season as the starter under center.
"He's been there, he's done that, he's seen quite a bit of it," said head coach Scott Boswell. "[His] second year in the offense, you know, he understands what his responsibility is. He understands his read keys, and we're just looking for big things."
"I feel a lot of pressure to be the leader," Lewis says. "I want the guys to look at me and the way I work, and I want to lead by example."
"We've been playing together forever," McLelland, one of Lewis's top receivers, says. "We're very familiar with each other. He's very familiar with this entire team."
They also return senior fullback Marquis Askew. The reigning District 5-3A 100-Meter Dash champion is tough to bring down in pads.
"Yeah, he's a beast," says Lewis. "He's, in my opinion, the best running back in the district."
"He seems unstoppable," McLelland adds. "I mean, every time he touches the ball, he at least gets five yards."
"Speed, in football, is where the game has gone," Coach Boswell says. "Marquis is extremely blessed with athleticism, and we try to accentuate that as much as we possibly can."
One place the Bulldogs need to improve on from last year is on defense. They allowed over 30 points per game in 2013, leading to some tweaks to the system. They're moving from last year's 3-4 to a 3-3 stack defense, with an added defensive back to try to combat some of the spread offenses in the district.
"We didn't completely scrap the old defense," Boswell said. "We just kind of morphed it into something that we felt was a little bit better for our personnel."
The Bulldogs will open their season Friday night at home against the Iowa Park Hawks. That game will be our Texas Ford Game of the Week for week 1.
Burkburnett Bulldogs 2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 vs Iowa Park, 7:30
Sep. 5 at Aubrey, 7:30
Sep. 12 at Vernon, 7:30
Sep. 19 vs Bridgeport, 7:30
Sep. 26 vs Brownwood, 7:30
Oct. 3 BYE
Oct. 10 at Decatur*, 7:30
Oct. 17 vs Graham*, 7:30
Oct. 24 at Gainesville*, 7:30
Oct. 31 at Mineral Wells*, 7:30
Nov. 7 vs Hirschi*, 7:30