For the first time in his tenure at Bellville High School, head football coach Grady Rowe will start a season with the same quarterback he had last year.
Coincidentally, ever since he took over in 2011, the Brahmas have also made the playoffs and he confessed there is indeed something in the water that rinses down the Pasture of Pain.
“They’re a hard-working group and I refer to it as the Bellville way,” he said. “Our kids only know one way and that’s to work hard and go extremely hard and that sticks out with this bunch. They do what we ask them to do and had a good summer and strength and conditioning program, they showed up and held each other accountable.”
He explained that’s just the way it’s been going and this kind of group is not much different than in years past.
“We tend to have similar teams. I think this year we’ve got some skill kids we’ve maybe lacked here in the last couple of years overall speed-wise,” Rowe said. “We’re probably not as big or have as much depth as we’ve had in the past up front so that’s probably the biggest difference we see so far.”
Of course, the road ahead is still bountiful but soon enough the preparations will turn fully and directly toward the Madisonville Mustangs for the Aug. 30 opener.
“Madisonville’s a good program, they’ve done well,” he said. “They’ve been real high on this senior group as well as the junior group behind them. They’ve had some really good numbers and they’ll be tough. Obviously we haven’t seen them yet but we’ll get chances to see them (through scrimmages) and of course, they’ll be doing the same for us so our goal is to be 1-0 against Madisonville.”
Helping lead the charge toward that goal will be a pair of senior anchors in the trenches that will go to work one more time in the red and white.
“Two all-state defensive line guys, Grayson Mays is about 6-foot-3, 240 pounds now, he’s put on about 30 pounds since last year and has started 33 games in his high school career,” said Rowe. “Dalton Bills, another returning all-state defensive lineman, he’s put on a little bit of weight too, he’s strong and we look for those two guys to have really good years and will see some time on both sides of the ball at tight end as well.”
Mays announced his commitment to play for McNeese State after this year’s camp and will potentially play a key role in building something up from the ground over in Lake Charles, La.
“He had several offers and McNeese did a great job in developing a relationship there,” said Rowe. “They really want someone like Grayson who can help kick start a program with Coach Sterlin Gilbert coming into his first year.”
The Brahmas will also feature returners on the offensive side of the ball, as previously mentioned, to help keep the slot-T formation humming.
“We’ve got a returner (under center), Jake Harris looks to be our starting quarterback here again, he’s got a year under his belt, he’s a senior, he’s got great leadership and we project him having a great year,” the head coach said.
“Richard Reese and Robert Briggs who were both freshmen last year, they were our explosive play guys,” Rowe added. “A year under their belt, still only sophomores and we look for them to have a good year. Alex Marek will also be returning, he started on the offensive line last year and Alex is a player, he’ll be a junior and he’ll be a key in helping us move the ball.”
On top of that, Trevon Green is making a return after missing last year to help make sure the District 12-4A title runs through the Pasture of Pain.
“I expect us to be battling for a district championship, we’re going on a run here where we’re trying to get in for the ninth year in a row to the playoffs,” Rowe closed. “We expect to be playing for that district championship.”