BRACKETTVILLE – If speed kills, the Brackett Tigers football team could soon be wanted men.
The 2019-20 version of the Tigers returned to the practice field this week to begin preparation for the upcoming season. Sporting a team of 30 players, the senior-heavy squad is looking to build on the success of last season and advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Last year was a tale of two half seasons for the Tigers.
Brackett began the season with three straight losses to Woodsboro, La Pryor and Eldorado. Head coach Gary Griffin chalked the slow start up to a case of too many new faces in new places. He added that once the players had enough playing time under their belts, and a grasp of what the Tigers were trying to do on both sides of the ball, the team got on a roll.
Brackett went onto win six of their next seven games with a 49-0 loss to eventual state champions Mason being the only blemish on their run. The Tigers finished second in the district and moved onto the playoffs where they met up with powerhouse Hearne. The result was a 49-6 loss in the Bi-District round for Brackett, but the momentum for the a faster start this season was already in place.
“Our plan to carry that success over from last season to this season began in the offseason,” Griffin said. “We got bigger, stronger and faster. We also had success in several of our spring sports. Our baseball team went three rounds deep, and we had several kids compete at the state track meet.”
Brackett lost only three seniors from last season’s team. In all, 14 seniors return to the team this season led by three-year starter Logan Fisher at quarterback. Fisher also plays cornerback and punts.
Fisher is one of several Tigers who will see action on both sides of the ball. Other key seniors are Michael Falcon (backup quarterback/tailback/wide receiver/inside linebacker), Kristopher Creel (wide receiver/defensive back), Javier DeLeon (wide receiver/outside linebacker), Stetson Schuster (offensive lineman/defensive lineman), Austin Britton (offensive lineman/defensive lineman) and Victor Huerta (offensive lineman/defensive lineman). Griffin said because Brackett has a small roster, playing both ways is essential. He added that the downfall to that is the wear and tear it puts on a player. “If we lose one of those kids, it’s like we’re losing five because of all the positions they play,” Griffin said.
“We try and save our kids by limiting their roles in practice. When we practice, we’re playing for week 11, not week one. By the time that last game comes around, we have kids that have played the equivalent of 20 games. The only good thing is that nearly everyone in our district is facing the same scenario as us … except Mason,” Griffin said.
While Brackett may not have the same number of players as other schools, or depth in key positions, Griffin said the Tigers’ key strength will be their speed.
“We’re never going to be the bigger team, so we predicate off that by developing an offensive and defensive scheme based on speed. We’re gonna go no huddle and go as fast as we can. If that means playing a smaller kid that can run a bit and give the other team problems, then so be it,” Griffin said.
Brackett opens its regular season Friday, Aug. 30 with a home game against Woodsboro.