Our High School Training Camp Road Trip heads to Bowie! The Jackrabbits are Texoma's only team in District 4-3A Div. I, and in fact the area's only team in that classification.
Four out of six teams make the playoffs in that district, and after three-straight disappointing seasons, the 'Rabbits want to be one of them.
With nineteen returning starters, they hope a large group of seniors will be able to turn the program around from last year's 3-7 record.
"We had a great summer," said fifth-year head coach Dylan Stark. "Our seniors really, really stepped up this summer. They were our leaders. They set the tone and the younger kids have followed, so with this senior group I have a lot of them that had to play varsity football, before maybe they were ready to these past few years. So with a lot of experience that should really help us this year."
Bowie has eight returning starters on each side of the ball, and the older guys can already see a difference in the team from last year.
"So far everybody is a lot more intense than last year," said senior fullback and defensive end Kevin Stallcup. "Everybody is ready to go really focused on winning and working hard."
"I think there is more intensity this year to get stuff done," said senior Trace Hardee. "Because we don't want to repeat what happened last year."
"Last year there was a lot of just confusion about what's going to happen," said senior lineman Josh Monkres. "'Who is going to be starting quarterback?' and everything. But we're just ready to go out there and play. We are a lot closer and focused ready to win some games this year."
The biggest change for Bowie this year will be on offense. Unlike past years, they will not run a two-quarterback system this season. They are handing the keys to the offense over to Hardee, and they feel that will boost the offense.
"I think it will be a lot better for the offense to have that type of stability," said Stallcup. "You know what you can expect out of every drive. With the one quarterback, you're not worried about what you are going to get on the next drive."
"Trace has been in the system all through high school," said Coach Stark. "He's done a great job, he is one of our leaders, he has worked really hard, and I feel good with him having the ball in his hands."
The Jackrabbits bring back a strong offensive line to protect Hardee, and they feel like that will help open up the offense.
"I think we are going to be able to run the ball a lot better and put up more running yards," Stallcup said. "Last year we relied on the pass more than running. And I think we will still be able to throw the ball around. We've got some really good receivers in Chase Hall and Jeffery Howard, but I think we will be able to run a lot better. Our line is doing a lot better than last year."
"Maybe the most important thing is we have offensive lineman back," said Coach Stark. "Last year we only had one offensive lineman [returning]. Coming into this year, we actually have, at times, five back. So that experience is something. When you're good up front that goes a long ways."
Bowie has not won a playoff game in a long time, and this year's team has a clear goal in mind.
"Just try to get to playoffs," said Hardee. Go deep in the playoffs, but especially just get that first playoff win for Bowie in over 30 years."
"Bowie has not won a playoff game since 1981, so that's the number one goal," said Coach Stark. "We talk about that all the time. We talk about that every year, and I don't have any doubt that this group can achieve that."
The Jackrabbits open their season at home, taking on the Hirschi Huskies on August 28th, which is just a week from Friday.