ORANGEFIELD, Texas — Coming off year that saw Orangefield tie the school record with nine wins, the Bobcats are preparing for life back in Class 4A.
Thought the competition will be tough, Coach Josh Smalley knows his team will be prepared.
"My eight years as head coach here, six of them we've been 4A. Five of those six we've made the playoffs. So it's not uncommon territory. It's not uncharted waters for us. It's something we've been in, we know these teams, we used to play these teams. We were only 3A for two years. So being 4A we're familiar with it like I said. We made the playoffs when we were 4A so those expectations haven't changed."
Orangefield's slot-t attack should be lethal this fall with seven starters returning.
"Gunner Jones, you know he's been the quarterback for the last year and a half for us. He stepped in for an injury his sophomore year and had to finish up that year. This last year he led us to the playoffs, so he's back. You know some other senior guys we got coming back, Tyler Washington at corner and he'll play a little running back for us. And you know we got some offensive linemen, twin brothers, Grant and Kyler Metts.
Meanwhile the defense could take some time to gel.
"We have some young guys that have to step up. Macoy Marze has to step up at linebacker, Dwight Davis in the secondary played a little bit last year. We lost eight starters on defense. Every linebacker starter graduated. Three of the four secondary guys walked across that stage in may, well technically June this year. So we've got some spots we got to fill on defense. But we got some young guys stepping up that I'm confident that will do the job."
The Bobcats are schedule to open the season august 28th at Anahuac.
Last Year: (9-2, 6-1)
Playoff Results: Franklin (L 23-14)
Starters Returning: Offense (7), Defense (4)
Players To Watch: QB Gunner Jones, RB Hunter Ashworth, FS Dwight Davis, LB Tyler Washington, WR/DE Logan Gipson, OL Kyler Metts, OL Grant Metts
Dave Campbell's Texas Football 11-4A-DII Prediction: 4th
District Championships: (8) 1947, 54, 67, 72, 81, 82, 87, 88
Playoff Appearances: (18) 1947, 54, 67, 81, 82, 86, 87, 88, 98, 99, 2000, 02, 03, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19
Playoff Record: (6-19)
Deepest Playoff Run: Regional Finalist (1988)
Most Wins in a Season: (9) 1981, 2019
Aug. 28 - at Anahuac Panthers
Sept. 4 - vs Woodville Eagles
Sept. 11 - at Livingston Lions
Sept. 18 - vs Buna Cougars
Sept. 25 - at Silsbee Tigers
Oct. 2 - OPEN
Oct. 9 - vs Liberty Panthers*
Oct. 16 - at West Orange-Stark Mustangs*
Oct. 23 - vs Bridge City Cardinals*
Oct. 30 - at Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns*
Nov. 6 - vs Hardin-Jefferson Hawks*