MAUD, Texas — Maud is looking to recover from last year's 1-9 season under first-year head coach Josh Turner and the Cardinal staff.
With good attendance for summer workouts, the kids' holding each other accountable and a smooth transition with the new offensive and defensive systems, the Cardinals are ready for their season opener, hosting Ore City Friday.
"Early I felt like we were doing a good job of the transition, with the new schemes, new formations and new terminology," Turner said. "The kids are working hard, they've bought in, practicing well and are picking up on what we're doing pretty quickly."
Turner believes with 14 returning starters combined and some decent size up front, Maud will be competitive in district play.
"Both of our lines are going to be a strength for us," Turner said. "We're big up front, and those guys move fairly well, also. We average about 240 on the O-line, which is good for a school our size, and we return a lot on the D-line. We all know you've got to win up front or it doesn't matter much what is happening behind those guys."
The Cardinals are switching to a multiple-pro style offense, with formation in shotgun and under center, and a 4-2-5 base on defense.Gallery: Texarkana Gazette's 2019 Football Edition
Rayne Bailey is a three-year starter for Maud but will move to quarterback from running back for his senior year.
"We look to Rayne for leadership, and we'll go as he goes," Turner said. "The offensive line will be pretty good, and with Rayne controlling the throttle we'll have a chance to accomplish some goals."
Senior Brandon Hall and sophomore Tucker Sanders are returning at running back. Hall has played tight end much of the time as a three-year letterman, but will move all over the offensive skill positions this fall.
Haylon Dear will be at split end, and Tristen White will move to wide receivers. Kaden Daniels could also help at receiver.
Chance Hicks is Maud's center, Skyler Pate is moving to tackle and Seth Brower returns at tackle. All three are seniors.
Freshman Evan Acosta is helping at guard, and Briley Barron will play tight end.
The Cardinals return eight starters on defense.
"Our front eight can be pretty special," Turner said. "We're going to have a lot of kids playing Ironman football. We try to play as many kids as we can, and a lot of our kids go both ways."
Hicks and Brower are the defensive ends for Maud. Barron will be at tackle.
"We've got to get in playing shape in a hurry," Turner said. "Our numbers are good; we had 35 come out. We'll field a jayvee team, which is good to develop our younger kids. It gives us a little bit of depth, but we've got a lot playing both sides. Everybody in our district has a lot of kids going both ways."
Bailey is at inside linebacker, Hall and Sanders are the outside linebackers. Dear plays free safety, and White plays cornerback.
"We had good participation in our summer workout, and it paid off," Turner said. "We ran the first day (of two-a-days) and it wasn't bad at all. I was pleasantly surprised by our conditioning, and once we get in good shape, we'll be fine."
The Cardinals will be looking to more players getting up to game speed, to help with depth and confidence when a kid's number is called.
"Between now and district, I want to see some kids step up," Turner said. "Maybe some kids who aren't in that starting bunch, develop into a player who we can put in the game and we feel like we don't miss a beat. We need to develop that depth with the kids that we've got. It's one thing to have 20 on the team; it's another to have 20 we can play at a moment's notice and us not skip a beat."
Aug. 30, Ore City
Sept. 6, Open date
Sept. 13, at Tom Bean
Sept. 20, Honey Grove (Homecoming)
Sept. 27, Rivercrest
Oct. 4, at Quinlan Boles
Oct. 11, x-Clarksville
Oct. 18, x-at Mount Enterprise
Oct. 25, x-James Bowie
Nov. 1, x-Overton
Nov. 8, x-at Detroit
x-Denotes District 10-2A, Div. II game. All kickoffs 7:30 p.m.
— SCHOOL: Maud
— 2018 RECORD: 1-9
— HEAD COACH: Josh Turner
— YEARS AT SCHOOL: 1st
— COACHING STAFF: Chance Blackburn BLACKBURN, def. coordinator/off line; Kris Nichols, off. line/def. line; Isaac Ramirez, receivers/def. line; Michael Henderson, running backs/outside linebackers; Drew Davenport, receivers/secondary.
— STARTERS BACK: offense 6, defense 8
— PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB/LB Rayne Bailey, RB/LB Brandon Hall, OL/DL Chance Hicks, OL/DL Skyler Pate, OL/DL Seth Brower, RB/LB Tucker Sanders, DB Haylon Dear, LB Davion Dunn, LB/WR Allan Williams, WR/DB Kaden Daniels, WR/CB Tristen White.
— TOP NEWCOMERS: TE/DL Briley Barron, OL:/DL Evan Acosta.