Countdown to kickoff: Azle Hornets

Posted Saturday, Aug. 09, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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District 5-5A

Last season: 3-7 (1-6 District 5-4A)

Key players: QB Jamie King (6-3, 205), RB Dalton Cole (5-11, 195), WR Tyler Albers (5-9, 175), ILB Johnny Crow (6-2, 225), DB Trey Ramos (5-11, 175).

The big picture: After qualifying for the 2012 postseason, the Hornets failed to do so in 2013. Coach Devon Dorris is hopeful that this year’s team will get back to the playoffs with 17 returning starters, including a trio of seniors on offense. Quarterback Jamie King, running back Dalton Cole and receiver Tyler Albers lead an experienced group. “We have a lot of experience and a good, physical style of play,” Dorris said. “A lot of players who touched the football last year were underclassmen.” The Hornets have one of the more brutal road schedules, which includes traveling to Wichita Falls twice. “It doesn’t matter how far we go, we’ll be ready … even if we have to travel 1,000 miles,” senior linebacker Johnny Crow said. The Hornets have plenty of three-year starters, including Cole and Crow. “We were extra young last year, but we’ll have seven or eight returning on both sides which will make us stronger,” Dorris said. Cole, who accounted for 935 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013, knows the Hornets have to continue to work hard on and off the field. “We have to work hard and don’t cheat our reps. We have to be 100 percent on the field, in the weight room and in the film room,” Cole said. “Our goal is to get back to playoffs.”

Quotable: “We learned a lot last season, but with so many coming back, our future is bright for these young players.” — Coach Devon Dorris

“We’re faster than we’ve ever been, but in a lot of our games, we’re not going to be faster than our opponent. We’re continuing to work hard on our overall team speed.” — Dorris

“It’s challenging, whether it’s how far we travel or getting use to the other team’s field, but we can handle any challenge.” — RB Dalton Cole

“Our goal this year is to win district. The seniors have worked hard to get here, we just have to stay focused.” — ILB Johnny Crow

“We played too loose last year. We have to be ourselves.” — Crow

Notable: Azle plays 11 games this season (10 last year). The season opens against Burleson (at home) for the second straight year. The regular season ends at Wichita Falls Rider. New teams on the schedule are Granbury, Red Oak, Saginaw Boswell, Saginaw and Chisholm Trail. Outside of Boswell, Azle must travel 359 miles for five other road games, an average of 71.8 miles per game (Red Oak, Denton, Wichita Falls twice and Cleburne).

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