By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
August 8, 2020
Hico’s drop down to Class 2A D2 has the Tiger’s faithful hoping for a brighter outlook for football after injuries and a depleted roster led to a winless season in 2019.
“The guys have come in charged up and ready to play,” Coach Randy Thornton said. “They have been pumped and are enthusiastic about going out and showing what they can do this season.”
With reclassification and a drop in enrollment, there’s a new jungle for the Tigers in 2020 as Hico links up with Albany, Santo, Cross Plains, Meridian, and Ranger in District 8-2A D2.
The District makeup is a mixture of feast and famine as Hico, Meridian, and Ranger combined for a 1-29 record in 2019. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Albany, Cross Plains, and Santo all made the playoffs and came up with a compiled 27-11 mark.
Santo is hoping to ride the talent of quarterback Case Proctor and Albany’s defensive end Parker Henry is expected to be the kind of stopper that helps the Lions take a league crown.
Football experts have given Hico the nod of a fourth-place finish while others have pointed to Meridian as the district’s dark horse as the Yellow Jackets return 10 starters on both sides of the football.
During the first week of workouts, Thornton had 30 players report for practice, and that’s a bit of a drop off with Hico turning in an enrollment figure of just 138 students.
“We were a bit short-handed last season, and we had a tough year on and off the field,” Thornton said. “We had some injuries at key positions, and it was a brutal schedule.”
Thornton’s not making excuses for his Tigers those were just the facts of life for Hico in 2019 and the year before, too. There’s not much difference in 2020 either as Hico has only four seniors after having five last year.
“We are a little thin in our senior class but have a good number of juniors playing this season,” Thornton said. “Right now, we are focusing on being good people, good students, and then good athletes.”
If that sounds somewhat familiar to you, it’s because it’s the philosophy of Bill Walsh that he used to turn the San Francisco 49ers into a dynasty.
The Tigers have returned “recharged” from the months-long break established by the UIL due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have a couple of things every football team needs to be successful –experience and depth on their offensive and defensive lines.
“That should be one of our strengths this season because we do have some depth and the flexibility of moving some people are on defense,” Thornton said.
Hungry for more Tiger News? Stay tuned for The Flash Today’s annual football preview magazine! Check out more action photos by Jessie Horton at the bottom of this page!!!