BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Hico’s Tigers are in a district that might well be described as a buzz saw with preseason polls favoring Crawford and DeLeon or vice versa depending on who and what you read to get your offseason football fix.
When you throw in coach Greg Proffitt and the Goldthwaite Eagles rich Class 2A history that includes four state titles you can see Hico will have its hands full this season.
One thing local football fans know about the Tigers is they play four quarters of football, and they don’t take time off during a game. De Leon went 12-1 last season and their toughest win appears to have been against Hico on the Bearcats’ home turf.
That was a game where the Tigers matched the Bearcats blow for blow and were tied up at 14-14 before DeLeon was finally able to seal the deal 27-13. The contest was DeLeon’s lowest scoring win of the season by a wide margin.
Calling Hico “a dark horse” is legitimate football terminology, in fact, the Tiger’s logo might be out there in someone’s football encyclopedia as a representation of what a dark horse looks like.
The Tigers were 7-4 last year with a 4-2 mark in league play under coach Randy Thornton. The Tigers have eight starters back on offense and seven on defense which looks pretty good. One issue will be filling the defense where those seven returning players are the only returning defensive lettermen.
Last week’s release of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine has the Tigers as the number three team in District 7-2A. That won’t stop DeLeon’s David Yeager or Crawford coach Delbert Kelm from repeating over and over to their players “This is a team we can’t overlook. Looking past Hico is a mistake.”
Quarterback Briley Johnson will spearhead the Tiger’s offensive attack and in 2017 showed he was a dual threat with 500 passing yards and 872 yards on the ground that accounted for 13 touchdowns. That passing total will likely see some improvement this season as defenses are learning to respect Johnson’s 4.5 speed.
Texas Football lists the following players as “to watch” in 2018 RB/LB Luc Hyles, RB/DB Brandon Luna, FB/DE Hunter Koonsman, RB/LB Adrian Jimenez, DL Robert Warren, OL Karson Zant, FB/DL Pablo Cruz, OL Brendan McKinney and kicker Jordan Harrison.
Getting excited about the upcoming football season?
We at The Flash Today and we want to make sure you are watching out for our football magazine which will have detailed stories, color photos, schedules and more about the Tigers and other teams in our coverage area.