By Bobbie Brown
I drove down the road a bit. It was so hot you could see the heat waves coming off the road, but I needed to go visit the Anton Bulldogs. I pulled up behind the school and found a tree outside the stadium and promptly parked. The tree was definitely a bonus! The bulldogs were wandering around and joking with each other. Coach Hoover blew his whistle and stretching started.
The practice field grass looked really nice. And the water was shooting out onto nice green grass next door at the Dog Pound. I learned later that the maintenance guys on staff at Anton ISD take care of the fields. Shout out to them! They do a great job!
The managers had the right idea. They were in the shade of the side of the gym prepping water and making sure everyone stayed hydrated. The Bulldogs are 16 strong. Coach Hoover anticipates a few more to get back in town soon and believe they will have 20 out for Anton this year. I had to laugh about one player. He kept losing his mouthpiece… in the grass. I counted how many times… at least four. He didn’t seem too concerned about it, but his teammates were. That’s what you call teamwork… keeping up with a mouthpiece on a field with lots of grass.
I was impressed. I am a firm believer in fundamentals. After warmups, the bulldogs worked drill after drill working on fundamentals. During one blocking drill with the dummy, I finally found a place and just stood waiting. They blocked and pushed that dummy all over the practice field. They didn’t care which direction it was facing. The players jumped around to the side and took the dummy for a ride across the field.
I was able to have a nice conversation with Coach Hoover. We talked about COVID (of course) and the summer and all things related to football and school. I always enjoy talking with Coach Hoover. He’s excited about this year and hopes it starts and keeps on going without any stoppage due to the pandemic. I think we are all right there with you, coach! I commented on the really awesome helmets this year. They are yellow with a chrome stripe and purple bulldogs inside the shape of Texas. Seriously… really cool helmets! With all the gold and purple, the Bulldogs look a little bit like a team from Louisiana we all know. He indicated that the new uniforms were coming. He had received a call and the jerseys had been found. Seems they were in one of four thousand boxes shipped to Dallas. People were working overtime to find uniforms for teams and get them shipped out to schools. Today they were looking for the pants. Hopefully, they will get them as I will probably see the Bulldogs in week two. They have a Thursday night game at the Dog Pound. Invitation accepted!
The Bulldogs bring back all of their team from last year’s playoff squad. Yep... that's right... every last player. Last year they slid under the radar. Anton wasn’t picked to do well in 2019 and yet, they made it to the second round of the playoffs and ran into a very talented and eventual State runner-up Motley County. This year the Bulldogs have only two seniors. Experience from last year will definitely give them a leg up in District 3. In district, they will face Amherst, Cotton Center, Lazbuddie, and Whitharral. I see them making a run into the playoffs again this year in DII Region I.
After an hour and a half in the 100+ temps, it was time for me to take my leave. As I was passing the front of the school, I glanced at the electronic sign in front of the gym. It read 105. Woo. That’s hot. I really enjoyed my visit with Coach Hoover and the Bulldogs. Good luck, guys. Week one is right around the corner!
Always Remember… go forward and do GOOD!
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