YOAKUM – Yoakum enters the season ranked No. 5 in the state Class 3A, Division I poll.
Yoakum coach Bo Robinson knows the ranking is based on the Bulldogs advancing to at least the state semifinals the past three seasons.
But Robinson is convinced the Bulldogs have a chance to be as good as predicted.
“We’re kind of like that John Anderson song,” Robinson said. “We’re just an old chunk of coal, but we’re going to be a diamond some day. That’s kind of how we feel.”
Yoakum returns very few starters from last year’s team, which shared the District 14-3A title and advanced to the semifinals. But the Bulldogs don’t mind the high expectations.
“I like the pressure because it makes us get better and want to be better,” said senior Caleb Byrnes. “We’ve got enough talent. We just have to work together.”
Yoakum will be a young team, especially on offense, but opponents shouldn’t confuse its inexperience with a lack of ability.
“We still have a lot of people who played and hopefully will do better than last year so we can play in December,” said senior Larry Hysaw. “We’re trying to get better every day and do what we can do.”
Hysaw knows the seniors will have to take a leadership role and help the younger players develop.
“There are not a lot of seniors out here,” he said. “We’re going to have to step up to make the younger guys work to get us better and make them better too. We want to get better and get our team better and bust our tail to be like we’re supposed to be.”
Byrnes is pleased by what he’s seen from the younger players during the first week of practice.
“I think we’re doing well,” he said. “We’ve gotten better since the first day of practice so I can tell we’re improving. It’s just everybody knowing what they’re supposed to be doing and getting into the role for their positions.”
Yoakum doing drills at Bulldog Stadium. pic.twitter.com/NbTQQrRlBd— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) August 8, 2019
Robinson has learned to be patient during his two decades as a head coach. He knows it’s more important to be playing well in October and November than in August and September.
“I live in South Texas and I think Southlake Carroll is going to win state every year too just because they’ve always been good,” he said. “That’s good because we’ve got that reputation now. We know we’ve got a lot to prove and the kids know that. We may struggle some early in the season, but when the time gets here to really play, we’re going to be pretty good, we think.”
Yoakum players cool off after practice. pic.twitter.com/L2QY1GchJT— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) August 9, 2019
NOTES: Yoakum will play both of its scrimmages on the road.
The Bulldogs will visit Giddings on Aug. 16, and San Antonio Sam Houston on Aug. 22.