Bobcats feel like they’re just getting started

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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You can’t argue with what Byron Nelson’s football program has accomplished in its first three varsity seasons.

The Bobcats are 18-14, produced a playoff season (2011) and have strung together consecutive seven-win seasons. This is the progress fifth-year coach Brian Polk expected. There’s nothing close to this program being satisfied with what it has done. To be honest, the climb toward excellence has just begun.

“Expectations are high, and each year we’re going to raise them,” Polk said. “We not only want to compete, but we want district championships and to go deep into the playoffs. I know every program has the same goals. We’re no different. But we’re at a point where we should expect to do these things.”

Through a strenuous offseason and summer program, Polk said his team arrived to fall workouts in the best shape he has seen. Because of that, practices have gone smoother and attitudes are solid.

However, the 2013 squad carries the burden of 2012 team’s frustration. That team went 7-3 but didn’t make the postseason because it didn’t hold the tiebreaker advantage with Azle. A 23-14 loss to the Hornets proved to be the difference.

District 5-4A is again the beast of Texas, with defending Division I state champion Denton Guyer and Division II state semifinalist Wichita Falls Rider sitting at the top of it.

“There’s no doubt we can compete for a spot and get into the playoffs,” Polk said. “With what we have coming back, I like our team. With Guyer and Rider, it doesn’t matter if they’re No. 1 or No. 100, we have to be able to compete.”

2013 Bobcats

Coach: Brian Polk (5th season, 4th in varsity)

2012: 7-3 (4-3 in 5-4A) did not make the playoffs

Returning starters: 7 offensive, 2 defense

Key returners: QB Esteban Ortega, LT Anders Huizenga, RB Courtney Miles, WR Jordan Diamond, DB Jailen Garrett, DB Alwin Crawford

Notable: Miles, the 2012 5-4A Offensive Sophomore of the year, is going to have the bulk of the carries. He rushed for 457 yards in 2012. He will get some help from Jordan Ortiz … 1,500-yard rusher Tylor Blake is no longer a member of the football program. That’s been known since the spring.

Nelson coaches have been taking it easy with Ortega by gradually working him back in with the offense. Ortega missed the spring with a shoulder injury. His presumed backup, Preston Haire, is out with a foot injury that could extend through the non-district season

Huizenga, a three-year starter, has offers from Tulsa and Yale … Polk likes the seniors he has along the defensive front but they have little to no varsity experience. That’s the same with his linebackers. Thus, the secondary led by Crawford and Garrett must lead the way early.

The first half of the 5-4A schedule flips for the Bobcats. Instead of being on the road at WF Rider and Denton Guyer, those two are coming to Nelson in September and October. The Bobcats will travel to Lake Dallas. If Nelson can find a way to go 2-1 before hitting the final four games that would give its playoff hopes a big lift … The potential playoff-deciding contest with Azle is Nov. 1 in Azle.

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