Back to Work: Wise County teams to hit fields Monday

By Clay Corbett | Published Saturday, August 3, 2013

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Monday marks the beginning of two-a-day workouts for high school football teams across Texas. Six of the seven Wise County teams will take to the practice field as a new season rolls around.

Class 5A Northwest, which conducted spring practice, will have to wait a week.

Getting Ready

GETTING READY – Cody McKenzie helps stack shoulder pads earlier this week as Paradise prepares for two-a-days. Messenger photo by Clay Corbett

The new season brings a lot of new faces to the forefront and some veteran players looking to make an impact once again.

Here is a quick preview of six of the county’s teams:


With so many injuries in 2012 the Alvord Bulldogs struggled to sustain any momentum. They rallied at the end of the year to get three wins and will look to build on that this season.

“I’m ready to get out there and get going,” Alvord head coach Curtis Enis said.

Alvord will have numerous positions to fill along both the offensive and defensive lines. Their strength will be with their skill kids.

Running back Joe Randall returns after rushing for 1,085 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore. Cassidy Patterson is back at quarterback after getting five games under his belt last year.

“We only have one starting offensive lineman returning,” Enis said. “We are going to have to depend on some young guys. The offensive and defensive lines will be key for us.”

Alvord will return leading tackler Keelan Nivens, but they lose fellow linebacker Shane McKinney, who moved during the summer.


Despite losing quarterback Blake McDonald to graduation, the Boyd Yellowjackets will still return one of the most experienced teams in the county.

Second-year head coach Brandon Hopkins is excited about the outlook.

“It’s about to be here, and I think we have a chance to be pretty good this year,” Hopkins said. “I’m really looking forward to it, and we have a lot of good seniors coming back.

“We’ve got a lot of young kids that can play, too, so we’re going to have some depth this year.”

After a third-place finish in District 5-2A last year, the Yellowjackets advanced to area round of the playoffs.

“Our district is pretty top heavy,” Hopkins said. “There are three or four teams in this district that can make a little bit of a run. We could be pretty good this year and still get third or fourth in district.”

Boyd will turn to Garrett Ragsdale to take the snaps under center. The senior will keep his duties at middle linebacker.

“He has come a long way,” Hopkins said. “He has a chance to be good for us. It’s just going to be a bit of grind with him playing linebacker, too.”

Ragsdale will also have the luxury of sharing the backfield with Fino Cardona who rushed for 1,901 yards as a junior.


The Bridgeport Bulls will be looking to fill several holes if they want to keep their playoff streak going. Bridgeport coach Danny Henson said that’s part of the game at the high school level.

“It’s mainly a decision of which kids to bring up,” Henson said. “We’ll have a lot of spots with a lot of new guys,”

Trey Cook will return as the Bulls’ quarterback after passing for 872 yards and four touchdowns last season. The versatile Hunter Gantt is back, too, and will be one of the go-to guys on offense.

“He’s a very versatile player that can run, pass and catch,” Henson said about Gantt. “He was so messed up with injuries last year he never really got going.”

Henson also plans to move Chase Collins to offense to help with that side of the ball. Bridgeport may have to go to the air more in 2013 with the loss of all-time leading rusher Gabe Huerta.


Chico enjoyed a six-win season in 2012, but was once again left out of the playoffs. With a big hit from graduation Chico will go to work Monday looking to fill key positions.

“I’m excited to get going,” Chico head coach Stephen Carter said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but the kids have been working hard all summer, and they are ready to get started.”

The Dragons will have the luxury of an experienced offensive line in 2013. With the big guys up front, Carter just has to find some skill kids to go around them.

One of the first things will be to find a new quarterback to replace Hunter York.

“The quarterback position is our biggest concern right now,” Carter said.


After a disappointing 2012 the Decatur Eagles are ready to get the bad taste out of their mouths with the beginning of a new season Monday.

“We are definitely hoping to erase the memories of last year,” Decatur head coach Kyle Story said. “It’s a fresh start with a new team and some new faces.”

The Eagles will be loaded on the offensive side of the ball with TCU verbal commit quarterback Grayson Muehlstein and his top target, Cain Lowe.

The offensive line will be mostly juniors, but Story likes their potential. The biggest concerns for Decatur will be improving their defense from a year ago and especially their secondary.

“We need to step and get off blocks on the defensive line,” Story said. “We can’t give up as many big pass plays as we did last year.”


For the first time in 16 years someone else will be leading the Paradise Panthers on to the field.

New Guy in Charge

NEW GUY IN CHARGE – Scott Broussard (left) visits with coaches Justin Buchanan and Dennis Cobb Monday. He will begin his tenure as the Paradise head football coach next week with the start of workouts. Messenger photo by Clay Corbett

Danny Neighbors retired in February and his longtime assistant and defensive coordinator, Scott Broussard, is in charge.

“I’m excited the kids are excited, and we are ready to get started,” Broussard said.

He will work on instilling his system the first few days of practice.

“I want to get their work ethic going and start to get our system in,” Broussard said. “We’ll start getting the base offense and defense in so we can get good at what we do.”

Paradise will return a few skill kids, but will have some work to do rebuilding the offensive line.

Broussard pointed out: “That’s kind of what two-a-days are for is to get kids in the right spots, get them locked in and good at the positions they play.”

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