SAN ANTONIO– The Bandera Bulldogs varsity football squad hosted the first live scrimmage of the 2014 season last Friday night against the Carrizo Springs Wildcats, putting the new 10-1 defense and the Slot-T offense to the test for the first time. After a slow start on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs bounced back with an increased intensity to win the scrimmage by two touchdowns.
“Coming back strong was good for us because it got our confidence up and helped us get adjusted to the new offense and defense we are running,” Safety and Receiver Noah Nelson said.
After Carrizo Springs put two quick touchdowns on the board, the Bulldogs defense bounced back extremely strong to keep the Wildcats from crossing midfield for the rest of the game. A new level of intensity, orchestrated by the high level of play that senior Nick Andreas brought from the middle linebacker position, enabled the Bulldogs to shut down the speed of the Carrizo Springs offense.
“The 10-1 defense works really well when everyone is hustling to the ball and doing their jobs,” Andreas said. “Despite a slow start, we were able to do that and saw a lot of success.”
The game was Andreas’ first time back on the field after an injury that kept him out for both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and after recording several sacks and multiple tackles for loss, it is clear that the Bulldogs gained a powerful playmaker in his return.
“Having Nick back is huge,” Junior Quarterback Utah Hicks said. “He has a great presence on the field and is a staple for our defense.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs sputtered at the beginning of the first series, struggling to find a rhythm in the new Slot-T scheme. However, after getting into the flow of the game, star running backs Landon Ventura and Alex Willoughby began to break through the Wildcat defensive front, utilizing the blocks of the offensive line to get into the secondary. Willoughby was able to get into the end zone on the ground for the Bulldogs, and junior Calvin Starnes broke free on one of the longest runs of the night for a touchdown, showing just how deep the Bulldogs backfield will be this season.
“It’s good to have multiple running backs that can run hard,” Senior Quarterback Joe Rodriguez said. “It enables everyone to stay fresh and preform at their best, which is crucial for the Slot T offense.”
In the passing game, Hicks and Joe Rodriguez both looked good for the Bulldogs. Hicks added the other two touchdowns for the Bulldogs attack in the air, completing touchdown passes to Nelson and Brayton Schmidt, while Rodriguez looked good throwing the ball as well.
“Getting back out there and being able to throw the ball around felt great,” Hicks said. “My receivers, Noah (Nelson), Josh (Kinsey), Brayton (Schmidt), Brady (Keane), and the entire receiving crew got open and made it easy for me to find them.”
The Bulldogs will look to build off of the “win” against the Wildcats this week as they prepare to battle the Hondo Owls on Thursday August 21. The game will be the final tune up for the Bulldogs opening season matchup against the Sam Houston Hurricanes, and should be a good game as the Bulldogs and Owls revitalize what used to be a heated rivalry. Game time has yet to be announced.