BOWIE, TX (KAUZ) - Thursday night, our high school Training Camp Road Trip continues with a look at the Bowie Jackrabbits. After Texoma's only Class 3A Div. I team finally won a playoff game last season, they're aiming even higher in 2016.
Head Coach Dylan Stark says he addressed it on the first day of camp. "That's been our goal, to win that playoff game, around here for a long time," Stark said. "And that's not our goal anymore. We have bigger goals."
The Jackrabbits ended a 35-year playoff victory drought with a win over Clyde in the bi-district round last season. Coming into 2016, the Jackrabbits expect more this year.
"Since we won that playoff game, we are expecting to go even deeper into the playoffs," said senior Brandon Hutto. "Like, we know we are going to do it."
"Last year, our town went pretty good crazy that we won our first one," said senior linebacker L.B. Clement. "We got the new blow-up run-out tunnel, largest in the state, for that. Just like to see what we get this year for winning two."
Bowie will have to make the run with a new man under center. Junior Jeffery Howard will make the switch from wide out to quarterback this season.
"It's a weird transition, I'll tell you," said Howard. "At wide receiver there is just so much space. At quarterback, it's all in tight. Just a really different perspective on things."
"Last year when we like started 7-on-7, his throws were a little spotty," Hutto admitted. "But I am not going to lie, this year once we put on pads, he was chunking the ball perfect, every play. It was really impressive."
"Jeffery has played quarterback before, growing up," said Coach Stark. "So he's new to the position this year, but he's played it before, and he's doing a great job. He's a really gifted athlete and he's picking it up well."
Bowie has a strong group of players in the backfield this season, and they think they will be able to rely on the run to take some pressure off of Howard. But, they graduated their whole starting offensive line, so they will need to fill those holes.
"We graduated a good group of lineman," Coach Stark said. "But the guys we have, a lot of them have experience. They may not have started, but they have played in a lot of varsity games last couple of years. You know, we've got some guys that aren't as big, but they are moving fast. They are really quick, so we have been really pleased so far with them."
"We're going to rely on the running game a lot," said Hutto, who will play running back. "We have a loaded backfield. We have me, [junior] Gary Mosley, and [senior] Gage Posey, so we're loaded back there. And it's going to take a lot of pressure off Jeffery not throwing the ball around."
On defense, the Jackrabbits bring back 9 starters and should be able to lean on that side of the ball early in the season as the offense finds its groove.
"I think our defense is looking pretty good," said Howard, who also will play defensive back. "I mean, I'm having to move out of the pocket a lot, and having to scramble from them. So that's a good sign I guess. It's kind of hard to throw against them, too. So our secondary is looking pretty good and solid."
"Our defense we gave up some points last year," said Coach Stark. "Our defense wants to be better, and we got a lot of guys back off that defense. I think we have nine starters back, so our defense is, so far in practice, looking really well. We are ready to see somebody else, you know, starting with these scrimmages, but we think our defense will be better and one reason is the experience of them."
With all the talent and senior leadership on this team, Bowie is confident they can compete with anybody.
"We have 15 seniors and they have really set the tone," Coach Stark said. "They have done a good job. And that's one thing I was worried about, maybe our leadership, but it hasn't been a concern at all. They have done everything we have asked, so the leadership is not a problem. We have some seniors that have been around, some have played. This is Brandon Hutto's fourth year to be on varsity, so we've got some guys that have a lot of experience, and they have really set the tone for our younger guys."
The Jackrabbits will open up their season at home, a week from Friday against the Aubrey Chaparrals.
Friday night, we'll start District 3-4A Div. II with the Iowa Park Hawks.
Bowie Jackrabbits 2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 vs Aubrey, 7:30
Sept. 2 at Howe, 7:30
Sept. 9 at Henrietta, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Holliday, 7:30
Sept. 23 vs Jacksboro, 7:30
Sept. 30 BYE
Oct. 7 at Boyd, 7:30*
Oct. 14 vs Breckenridge, 7:30*
Oct. 21 at Brock, 7:30*
Oct. 28 vs Paradise, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Ponder, 7:30*