EVADALE, Texas — For all but three seasons since 1996 Mark Williams has led Evadale, but a new era has arrived with Jay Buckner taking over the Rebels program.
"First of all Mark and I have been friends for a while. I think a lot of him and his program and I'm glad he left me in the shape he did cause he's done a good job here, there's been a lot of success. Our goal now is to try and take that to the next level and get this team to come together tighter maybe even tighter than it ever has before and really embrace what were going to try and do this year."
Buckner is taking over an Evadale program that expects to win. The Rebels haven't missed the playoffs since 2005.
"Oh absolutely. I mean that's a joy right there. To walk in and have kids expect to be successful. That's half the battle. And this kids do, you can tell by the way they carry themselves and conduct themselves when we're out there working on things. So that's definitely exciting."
Evadale has experience returning on each side of the ball, but Buckner is walking into the season with a clean slate and an open mind.
"I've heard a lot of names. Until we really get started you know I don't want to predetermine anything. And I want every kid to have a chance to step up and be that person. And so yes and no. At this point I'm gonna hold on that question until we see what we got the next couple of weeks."
Coach Buckner is known for his ground and pound offense that he used in Santa Fe and warren, but that doesn't mean he isn't open to change.
"Everybody knows I'm kind of a run heavy guy. However I know that Evadale can throw the ball a little bit and they've had success doing it. So we're going to try and adapt what I do with what they do which is what I've always done. I'm not going to predetermine what we're going to run until I see what we have to run it. I think our kids are embracing what we've done so far and I think they're excited about it. So hopefully it will work out for the best."
Evadale kicks off the season August 27 in Beaumont against the Kelly Bulldogs.
Last Year: (4-5, 2-2)
Playoffs: Bi-District (Loveland, L 50-12)
Players to Watch: QB/DB Chase Smith, OL/DL Brandon Montalvo, OL/DL Drake Hart, RB/DE Nathan Engleman, RB/LB Trenton Lyles, RB/LB Casey Lewis
Aug. 27 | at Kelly | 7:00 pm
Sept. 3 | at Warren | 7:00 pm
Sept. 9 | at Merryville (LA) | 7:00 pm
Sept. 17 | vs Cushing | 7:00 pm
Sept. 24 | Acadian Christian (LA) | 7:00 pm
Oct. 8 | at High Island* | 7:00 pm
Oct. 15 | vs Hull-Daisetta* | 7:00 pm
Oct. 22 | at Deweyville* | 7:00 pm
Oct. 29 | at Sabine Pass* | 7:00 pm
Nov. 5 | vs Burkeville* | 7:00 pm