Holtville had a season it’d like to forget.
Finishing 0-10 last year, the Bulldogs were shut out three times and managed just seven points in four other defeats.
“I’m not sure I can put into words and articulate the personal level of how difficult that was,” Holtville coach Hunter Adams said. “We had a good group of kids that worked hard, but as a group, we were athletically limited.”
Holtville isn’t trying to have another season like that in 2015. So the Bulldogs have made it an even greater priority to make as few mistakes as possible to give themselves a chance to win.
“We’ve got to out-execute teams,” Adams said. “We’ve got to be in better condition, and we’ve got to outhustle. Better effort. Just being realistic, when a guy is more physically talented, you’ve got to outwork him, you’ve got to outthink him, you’ve got to outhustle him to give yourself a chance to win.”
Holtville opens the season Friday against Thorsby.
“Our schedule is brutal, but if we’re operating at 100 percent all the time and everybody else is operating at 80 percent, we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Adams said.
Holtville has just four seniors on the team. Adams said only one — AJ Wilson — has played football for more than one season. However, Adams has a junior class that believes it can get the Bulldogs moving in an upward direction.
“We’ve played football together all of our lives since we were little,” junior defensive end Jacob Nowak said. “We’ve been together forever. So basically when we became freshmen, we knew that we had really good talent and coming up into the next couple of years, we could turn the team around.”
That “next couple of years” is now.
“My biggest thing is I want to see that effort and execution evolve to a higher degree, and we have guys who might have graded out in the high 60s, low 70s last year, they need to be high 80s, low 90s this year,” Adams said. “If we’re making that transition, we’re making progress and doing the right thing.”
Injuries contributed to Holtville struggling on offense last season. Adams said he had a different starting offensive line every game until late in the season and by season’s end had a defensive lineman playing tailback after starting the season with five players at that position.
Region: Class 4A, Region 3
2014: 0-10 (0-6 region)
Coach: Hunter Adams (fourth season, 3-27)
Coordinators: Daryl Otwell (offense), Adams (defense)
Best-case scenario: The Bulldogs have a long way to go, but three wins, their most in five years, are attainable.
Worst-case scenario: See 2014. Rinse, repeat.
Aug. 28 at Marbury
Sept. 4 Elmore Co.
Sept. 11 at Handley
Sept. 18 Dadeville
Sept. 25 at Catholic
Oct. 2 at Childersburg
Oct. 9 open
Oct. 16 Munford
Oct. 23 at Leeds
Oct. 30 Prattville Chr.
at Thorsby L, 32-7
Marbury L, 34-20
at Elmore Co. L, 49-23
Handley L, 55-0
at Dadeville L, 66-0
Catholic L, 18-0
Childersburg L, 41-7
at Munford L, 67-7
Leeds L, 55-7
at Prattville Chr. L, 28-21
— A. Stacy Long