With 19 starters returning from last year’s 8-3 squad, Lone Grove gets the nod over defending district champion Plainview to win the crown in District 3A-4 this season.
Sulphur coach Jim Dixon is impressed with the Longhorns.
“I think Lone Grove is loaded,” Dixon said. “They just got about everybody back. They had a bunch of pups last year and they were pretty darn good.”
Dixon, who has been the head coach at Sulphur for 40 years, said he’s never seen a better sophomore running back then Lone Grove’s Jeremy Lewis last season.
“He is fast and he’s got some moves,” Dixon said. “He can fly.”
Lewis (6-2, 185 pounds) rushed for 2,176 yards last season and scored 30 touchdowns for the Longhorns.
PLAINVIEW HAS TALENT BUT LACKS EXPERIENCE
Plainview finished 13-1 last season, losing a heartbreaker in the state semifinals to Blanchard, a game the Indians led 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
Plainview is the defending district champion, but coach Chris Berus must replace 16 starters from a year ago.
“We are going to end up being good, I have no doubt in my mind,” Berus said. “It’s just going to take a little longer to get there. We have so many inexperienced players.”
SULPHUR BACK IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT
Sulphur returned to the state playoffs last year after a three-year absence. It’s the longest streak of non-playoff appearances in Dixon’s four decades at the school.
The Bulldogs were only 5-6 last season but were competitive in every game except a loss to Plainview, Dixon said.
“We will be better,” Dixon said. “We are due to have another good ball club but we’ve got to stay healthy. We have no depth.”
The workhorse on offense will be senior running back Nate Johnson while junior Cole Palmer moves from the defensive secondary to take over at quarterback.
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