NOCONA, TX (KAUZ) - Saturday night, our Training Camp Road Trip opened up District 5-3A Div.II with a look at the Nocona Indians!
They have a ton of players returning and want to build off a positive end to last season.
"Everyone is really confident this year," said senior wide receiver Marcus Carter. "We're all clicking right now as a team. That last win brought us together, I feel like, and it boosted us in the off season so we would work even harder."
"We came into off season real hyped up," said senior running back Parker Marshall. "Real pumped up about it. We worked really hard this year, and I think it's going to pay off. We've got kids coming back. We only lost a few and I feel real confident about this year."
With so many players returning, the coaching staff even notices a difference in the team this year.
"That's what we talked about in the coaches' office," said head coach Brad Keck. "We feel like right now we're about week eight, maybe week nine, of where we were last year, and here we are the second week of two-a-days, so obviously we feel good about it."
On offense the Indians bring back a ton of skill players, including quarterback Jeremy James. In his second year under center his teammates and coaches can see his growth.
"I think he's so much more comfortable in the pocket, scrambling, his feet are working good," Marshall said. "His arm is on, you know he's hitting everybody. We have so much chemistry this year, I really think it's going to help us out."
"Well at first he didn't seem [to have] that much confidence last year," said senior tight end Luis Rico. "But this year, he seems extremely confident. He has chemistry with everybody. He knows how to move around and when to throw so I feel pretty confident in him now."
"Well, Jeremy's throwing the ball well," Keck said. "And we always thought Jeremy would do a good job. I think he has gotten stronger and faster, which is what he needed to do, and definitely has some confidence now. So we feel really good about Jeremy."
The biggest question mark for Nocona on offense will be the play in the trenches. They will have to rely on some younger players to step up.
"We're real pleased with our skill positions along the offensive side," Keck said. "Probably our biggest question mark would be our offensive line. They are just very young, and it's going to be how fast they grow up and mature."
On defense, the star of the show will be middle linebacker Tanner Cable. As a sophomore he lead the team in tackles, and this season they expect even bigger things from him.
"On the defensive side of the ball, my little brother Tanner Cable. He's actually really good at his middle linebacker position," said his proud older brother, senior tight end Tristan Cable. "And he's, I don't even know how to explain -- just he's an amazing football player. And I think we can rely on our linebackers a lot. Every single one of them can make a tackle, and if they don't then our secondary will."
"Tanner was our leading tackler last year as an outside linebacker," explained Keck. "And as a sophomore we moved him to middle 'backer. This year our defense is kind of based around him. He had a great spring, a great job in track, and we expect big things from him. I think he will deliver."
This young Nocona team is ready to turn it around and send the seniors out on a good note.
"Since I've been on varsity, we haven't been that great, "Marshall admitted. "if we could come and have a good season, maybe make playoffs, that'd be great. That would mean everything to me. All the years, and for Nocona that would bring our town, man that would just make everything great for everyone. That's what we been waiting for for a long time."
"These guys were around this program a few years ago when we were winning quite a bit," said Keck. "So they have seen what it does to the school, what it does to the community, and they want to have that feeling. They want to ride that charter bus and they want to be playing in December and they want that before they graduate. That's their motivator."
Nocona Indians 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 vs. Alvord, 7:30
Sept. 2 at Archer City, 7:30
Sept. 9 at Olney, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Chico, 7:30
Sept. 23 at Perrin-Whitt, 7:30
Sept. 30 vs BYE
Oct. 7 vs Holliday, 7:30*
Oct. 14 vs Jacksboro, 7*
Oct. 21 at City View, 7*
Oct. 28 vs Henrietta, 7*
Nov. 4 at Millsap, 7*