VERNON, Texas (TNN) - We head out to Vernon to start class 4A as the Blitz on Six Preseason Previews rolls on.
The Lions made the playoffs last year for the third year in a row, but only returns five starters on each side of the ball and one position with a lot of new players is the offensive line.
“You know we aren’t as experienced on the offensive line as you always hoped," Vernon head coach Matt Hoover said. "But we got some really good kids in there that are doing a good job of picking up things and getting things done for us.
“I think we lost maybe one back and we have some quick lineman that will help us out too," Vernon junior QB BT White said.
Last year, the Lions averaged 42 points in a game in their three district victories and one reason for that was the breakout season of quarterback BT White.
White threw for more than 900 yards and five touchdowns a year ago, but ran for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 17 times using his feet and Vernon is expecting him to continue his growth in the position.
“I see a lot more leadership from him just because he’s a little bit older," coach Hoover said.
“He got smarter at the quarterback position," Vernon senior WR/DB Ismael Ortega said. "He’s making plays, he knows what he’s doing more.”
“First three games I was splitting time," White said. "Then after that I started feeling the rhythm because you can’t really feel the rhythm when you are sharing the load, but then started getting in my rhythm.”
That is what Vernon is excited about this year, a full year of White as the signal-caller with some explosive athletes around him, like Ismael Ortega and Wichita Falls High School transfer Isaiah Cherry.
But the Lions say they will need something more than talent to reach their goals this season.
“I think our chemistry, it got a lot better than it was last year," Ortega said. "So I feel like since it has gotten better, we will go farther.”
“Good chemistry and believing in each other, not bringing anyone down, just keep lifting everyone up," White said. "We have the athletes to do it so if we have good chemistry than we will go a far ways.”
Even with good chemistry and a lot of talent, a run in the playoffs isn’t guaranteed, which is what the Lions learned last year after winning their bi-district game but getting shutout in the area round.
“One of the things I learned from it is you have to take care of the guys all year long, not just wait till the end," coach Hoover said. "Because it is a long, draining season on these kids and we just have to make sure we take care of them.”
Week 1: F 8/30 @ Gainesville 7:30pm
Week 2: F 9/6 vs. Altus 7pm
Week 3: F 9/13 vs Pampa 7pm
Week 4: F 9/20 vs Hirschi 7pm
Week 5: F 9/27 @ Burkburnett 7:30pm
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: F 10/11 vs Aubrey 7pm
Week 8: F 10/18 vs Iowa Park 7pm
Week 9: F 10/25 @ Bridgeport 7pm
Week 10: F 11/1 vs Krum 7pm
Week 11: F 11/8 @ Graham 7pm