The Buffaloes run towards what looked like a state title came to a halt in a controversial 35-28 state quarterfinal loss to Liberty Hill.
Coach Derek Fitzhenry has 11 total starters back from last season's 13-1 club and the strong senior class in enough to land the Buffs at No. 2 in TPI's preseason Central Texas Class 3A poll.
The Buffaloes will run, run, and run some more on offense and will go as far as the legs of senior quarterback Brock Fitzhenry will carry them. With over 5,400 career rushing yards and 27 straight games with over 100 yards, Fitzhenry has committed to Texas but before he becomes a Longhorn he will lead one of the most productive offenses in all of Class 3A.
The defense should be just as good as the offense as six starters are back, including last season's Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year senior linebacker Alan Dock. Dock, who had more than 160 tackles last season, will lead the defense along with veteran all-District starters Spencer Duncan at defensive end and Cassius Bradley in the secondary.
The No. 2 ranked team in Class 2A also fell just two wins shy of a state championship as Marlin went 10-3 in 2006 and won playoff games against McGregor and defending state champion Newton before falling ton eventual state champ Tatum in the state quarterfinals.
There are 10 total starters back for Coach Jerry Malone and while the Bulldogs were young last season, their experience has allowed them to on paper close the gap on district rival Mart.
Like any Jerry Malone-coached team, the Bulldogs will rely on speed and in 2007 they will have plenty of it to go around. Quarterback Charles Hitchens returns to lead the offense and Hitchens will lean on running back Antonio Moore (over 1,100 yards nine touchdowns) and Travis Miller, who has already committed to Oklahoma State and will have his lightning quickness and sub-4.4 speed used all over the field.
Defensive back Vance Richardson will lead the defense after recording five interceptions last season while Matthew Phillips will provide leadership and be counted on to make plays on the defensive line.