Friday night our high school Training Camp Road Trip begins District 3-4A Div. II with the Iowa Park Hawks. They're on their third quarterback in three years, but expect to keep it rolling.
"We're looking pretty confident," said senior offensive lineman Conner Rhoades. "We have a bunch of good starters coming back. We've got Dylan [Meyer] and Bowie [Franks]. Bowie was a great running back last year, and Dylan, he's learning quickly. He's going to be a good quarterback, and our defense is looking a lot better than it was last year."
"Our kids definitely feel good about what they have done," said head coach Aubrey Sims. "The off season workouts were great. Our summer workouts were great, and so I just think the past success builds confidence. And the work that they have put in, I think they have built their own confidence."
At quarterback, senior Dylan Meyer will be stepping in to take over. He was the backup QB last season, but is now ready to take the starting gig.
"He played outside receiver for us last year," said Coach Sims. "He was the backup quarterback, and he battled for the job right there early, but this year he's definitely stood up above everyone else. He did okay in the scrimmage. He's only been quarterback for 10 days, and I thought he did a great job,"
"He's done a good job," Rhoades said. "He's a quick learner and he's doing a pretty good job of it."
The Hawks believe with the talent they have surrounding Meyer, they will be just as explosive on offense in 2016 as they were a year ago.
"Our expectations are always high on the offensive side of the ball," said Coach Sims. "We've got a core back of offensive lineman and that's where it all starts. And so as long as those guys are healthy and doing their job up front it makes it easier for those pretty guys in the back."
"We have four out of the five offensive linemen coming back," said Rhoades, who is among those four. "So I think we should be able to match people and run the ball down their throats."
"I expect really good things," Meyer said. "We have a lot of returning seniors this year. We have 17 of them. Most of them are on the staring line, so [we're] looking good."
With Franks back at running back, Meyer's legs should add to an already explosive running game.
"Dylan's probably a little bit more of a runner [than 2015 starter Landon Kimbro]," Coach Sims said. "Even as great as Landon ran the ball last year. Dylan is probably a little stronger running the ball between the tackles."
"I worked on my strength and agility," Meyer said. "To be able to be a runner and not only a passer."
The biggest problem for Iowa Park last year was on defense. They bring back a good amount of starters and expect to be much improved on that side of the ball this season.
"We started two sophomores at linebacker, and so we got both of them back this year as juniors," Coach Sims said. "And they are already ten times better then they were last year. Up front, we made a few changes and some tweaks and stuff, that we are going to try to do, and move some guys around. Just try to use everybody's strength and fill some holes."
"They are a lot more physical then they were last year," Rhoades said. "A lot more downhill. I mean, they are a lot more physical. We're a lot stronger, so we're looking a lot better than last year."
Iowa Park has high hopes for this season, and if they can improve on defense they will be in the mix for another district title.
"That's always a goal," said Coach Sims. "You want to win district if you can, and then if you lose a game or reality hits you, then you are fighting to get in. But like I said, last year we got beat in the second round. So this group wants to come back. A lot of these guys were a part of that, so they want to come back this year and try to do better than that. So it's a competition between the kids, but our kids that have already graduated, man they are awesome. We got one of them out here watching practice today. We've had a bunch come watch. They are always supportive, and you know at the end of the day it's all one big Hawk family."
The Hawks open their season on Friday, August 26th, hosting rival Burkburnett in our Week 1 Game of the Week!
Saturday night we'll head down to Young County to hear from the Graham Steers!
2016 Iowa Park Hawks Schedule
Aug. 26 vs Burkburnett, 7:30
Sept. 2 at Gainesville, 7:30
Sept. 9 vs Childress, 7:30
Sept. 16 vs Mineral Wells, 7:30
Sept. 23 at Holliday, 7:30
Sept. 30 vs Wall, 7:30 at Ab. Wylie
Oct. 7 vs Krum, 7:30*
Oct. 14 at Vernon, 7:30*
Oct. 21 BYE
Oct. 28 vs Bridgeport, 7:30*
Nov. 4 at Graham, 7:30*
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