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FOOTBALL 2011 PREVIEW: Yoakum wants to let play on field do all the talking

Aug. 14, 2011 at 3:14 a.m.

Quarterback Jeff Harrison looks for an open receiver during a drill at practice on Thursday. The team will scrimmage against Shiner on Aug. 19.

2011 YOAKUM SCHEDULE

Aug. 26, at Columbus

Sept. 2, La Grange

Sept 9, at Hallettsville

Sept 16, Edna

Sept. 23, at Gonzales*

Sept. 30, Pleasanton*

Oct. 7, at La Vernia*

Oct. 14, Cuero*

Oct. 28, at Poteet*

Nov. 4, San Antonio Sam Houston*

* Denotes District 28-3A game

YOAKUM AT-A-GLANCE

HEAD COACH: Brent Kornegay (Third year at Yoakum)

2010 RECORD: 2-8 (1-5 District 28-3A)

RETURNING STARTERS: RB Andrew Jimenez, QB Jeff Harrison, WR Fred Thompson, OL Bryce Lauer, RB Kyle Mikulik, RB Troy DeWeese, FB Devante Price, DE Neil Berger, DB Blake McCracken, DL Willie Hights, LB Rico Moya, DE Rex Kutzer, LB Kody Perez.

Upcoming previews

Aug. 17: Hallettsville

Aug. 19: Edna

Aug. 21: Industrial

Aug. 22: Shiner

Aug. 23: Shiner St. Paul

Aug. 24: Bay City

YOAKUM - Sometimes, coaches set preseason team goals to serve as long-term motivation for the upcoming season and focus their players' collective attention.

According to Yoakum head coach Brent Kornegay, now is not one of those times.

"When you go 2-8, there are all kinds of goals that we could be setting," the coach said. "I don't have to tell these kids (anything).

"They understand what is at stake, and they've been working hard to get better."

2010 IN REVIEW

In 2010, the Bulldogs had nobody to blame but themselves.

Yoakum (2-8 overall, 1-5 District 28-3A) failed to make the playoffs last season as it continually stubbed its toe, turning the ball over 38 times en route to just one win during the final nine weeks of the regular season.

Outside of their 47-point shutout of district foe Poteet, the Bulldogs were defeated by an average of 17.7 points per game in district competition.

REASON TO BE HOPEFUL

But there is reason to believe Yoakum's immediate future could be brighter. Most notable is the team's depth in the backfield.

While the Bulldogs lack a go-to, feature running back, Kornegay says his backfield goes three deep at every position, allowing for a variety of different looks during any game.

BIGGEST QUESTION MARK

The offensive line, however, is not as fortunate.

After losing several notable linemen because of graduation, the Bulldogs are left with a number of unproven players, who must quickly adapt to varsity-level competition and prove themselves.

KEY TO SUCCESS

Even if the linemen provide protection and open holes, the Bulldogs must maintain possession in order to thrive.

"Turnovers plagued us (last year)," Kornegay said. "That was key because it put our defense in bad situations.

"When we fumble inside our 20-yard line, the opposing team doesn't have to work very hard to get into the end zone."

BIGGEST CHANGE

Although Kornegay expects to see a change in his team's performance on the field, he is already excited about the transformation he has seen in his team's approach to the game.

The coach credits his seniors for leading the way.

"They are leading the younger kids by example," Kornegay said. "I just like the way our attitude is going to work every day.

"The kids have bought into (the philosophy that hard work pays off), and it has just been a total different atmosphere than what we've had in previous years. They believe in what we are trying to accomplish."

BIGGEST GAME

Every district game will be important as the Bulldogs aim to transition into a playoff contender, but perhaps none will carry more weight than the home game against Pleasanton on Sept. 30.

After losing by a dozen points at Pleasanton last season - one of only three defeats decided by fewer than 15 points - Yoakum will be anxious to gain a measure of revenge against the Eagles.

PLAYOFF CHANCES

Additionally, a victory would springboard the Bulldogs into a road game at LaVernia.

Should Yoakum defeat the Bears, the Bulldogs would own their first two-game win streak since 2009.

A win two weeks later at Poteet would give the Bulldogs a trio of district victories and, most likely, put them on the cusp of a postseason appearance.

Yoakum, however, would probably have to also defeat either Cuero, San Antonio Sam Houston or Gonzales to become a serious playoff contender.

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