Last season: 8-4 (7-1 in District 6-4A), Class 4A DII area finalist
Key players: QB Jordan Cox (6-1, 175), NG Dominic Hill (6-0, 285), OL Koby Stevenson (6-0, 260), OL Brody Maples (6-0, 270), OL Peyton Stierwalt (5-11, 230), WR Chandler Freeseman (6-2, 180), WR Jonell Reed (6-2, 175).
The big picture: Boswell graduated 45 football players last season, the largest contingent to leave the program in several years. But the Pioneers return a core group of seniors and have three returning offensive linemen to give quarterback Jordan Cox some confidence as he steps into the starting role. Cox spent last season as backup and threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns. But the Pioneers will rev up the offensive engine a little in comparison to last season. Coach John Abendschan said the evolution of the offense is “kind of like baking a cake” in that the Pioneers are throwing lots of things in the bowl and seeing what comes out. Abendschan also said Cox earned the job from his work in the spring and brings a strong ability to pick up reads quickly and throw the ball on point downfield. With three defensive starters back, the jury is out on how Boswell can hold its field position from a year ago. Dominic Hill, who is being recruited by SMU and Oklahoma, anchors the front seven of a defense that gave up just 14.5 points per game last season. Hill had 43 tackles, and 11.5 tackles for loss. Boswell lost to Aledo in the area round of the playoffs last season.
Quotable: “This will be a year that really defines the program because we have a lot of expectations and a group of sophomores that will have to grow up fast.”
— Coach John Abendschan
“We have a young team and everyone knows that. We changed our tempo a little and in order to do that, you’ve got to work really hard at it. It’s not easy to make a change like that, but if there’s something you want, you have to go get it.”
— Defensive lineman Dominic Hill
“We haven’t really made significant changes, just added some wrinkles to the system that was already in place. Having a younger team will be fun because there’s a lot that we’ll all learn to do over the course of the season. For me, I want to play at the next level so I feel like in the first few ballgames I just need to keep my head cool and make the plays that need to be made.”
— Quarterback Jordan Cox
Notable: Azle and Boswell will renew a lengthy rivalry on Sept. 26 after a two-year absence as both teams are once again district mates. Abendschan said the rivalry is one that both towns cherish and indicated that no matter the talent levels, “it’s always a big game and very exciting.”
— Kevin Casas