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2017-08-10

“New Look” Bulldogs face off in Intrasquad scrimmage

By Tim McGrath

By Tim McGrath

Following five days of preparation and practice, the 2017 Bandera Bulldogs will participate in their first full contact intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday morning, August 12 beginning at 9:00a.m. at the Bandera High School practice field. With significant changes made to both the offensive and defensive philosophies the “New Look” Bulldogs seem to be off on a positive note with confidence and enthusiasm for the new, aggressive approach on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, look for the Bulldogs to step up the passing game with spread formations, vertical routes and a fine group of receivers and backs who can create havoc for opposing defenses with their speed and elusiveness. Senior Ben Shackelford (6-2, 195) tops the list of Bulldog receivers and is expected to contribute heavily to the Bandera offensive output this season. Bandera Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jeff Hamilton and Assistant Head Coach Jason Botos had high praise for Shackelford while discussing the season ahead. “A guy we think is really dynamic is Ben Shackelford. He’s gotten bigger, stronger and a little more athletic. He’s a tight end that we also set outside. He can win a lot of matchups and we are really fired up about Ben,” Hamilton said. Botos, also the offensive playcaller, had this to say about Shackelford. “Ben is super, super. He made some unbelievable plays during 7 on 7 this spring. He was our leading receiver last year and we look forward to Ben having an outstanding season this year,” Botos remarked. The Bulldogs will be also be relying on returning senior wide receivers Alex Jannell, Jacob Brown, Robert Woodie and Chisom Magee to contribute heavily to the Bulldog receiving game. Fullbacks Wyatt Blair and Ryan Smith along with tailbacks Magee, Tommy Cardenas and Gunnar Brown could also contribute big plays as receivers out of the backfield with the new passing game being installed in early practice. Also expect Blair to carry the ball an increased number of times this season as the Bulldogs expect to take advantage of his speed and toughness.
The quarterback position is a topic of concern for the 2017 Bulldogs who return two quarterbacks with experience and hope that one will take over the position through tough competition and also step up as the leader of the offensive team. Senior Chase Havely and junior Travis Adams are expected to compete for the starting job along with sophomore Gunnar Brown, who will share reps with the quarterback returnees during training camp. Hamilton indicated that the position is open and that he is looking not just for a quarterback but a leader as well. “We’ve got two kids who have experience at quarterback. Both kids have strengths and weaknesses. Each one has a different dynamic Both of them work hard but both have a ways to go in refining their skills and also being the leader of that group. The quarterback has to be the leader of the offense.” Hamilton said. Botos had this to say about the Bulldog quarterback position. “We’ve been working all spring with our quarterback and receiver positions. We’ve got to get better in that area. We are going to go to practice and spend more time on throwing the football. I really look forward to all three QB’s competing hard for the position. All three can play other positions so all three are going to contribute offensively and they all understand that”, Botos remarked.
The Bulldog offensive line will be anchored by 6-2, 300lb senior Josh Ripple. Ripple will lead an offensive line that includes potential starters Nathan Blakeney, Logan Crane, Caleb Crosby, Samuel MacNeil, Robert Marsden, Angel Aguilar, Elias Cruz, Luke Tschirhart and newcomer Zackary Widenor. Bulldog offensive line coach Bobby LaLanne has been promoted to offensive coordinator and will be heavily involved in the offensive game plan along with Botos. One more change to the Bulldog offensive efforts is Hamilton moving over to help out with the offense as well as keeping a close eye on the defensive tackles. “This year we hired a D-Line coach and I’m still going to have some hands on with the experience factor but I am also going to help out on the offensive side and coach the tight ends this year”, Hamilton explained.
The Bulldogs will see their first action against an opponent when they travel to Jourdanton on Friday, August 18 for a full scale scrimmage beginning with the freshmen/JV at 5:00 p.m. followed by varsity action at 6:30 p.m.
Next week we will talk to new Defensive Coordinator Michael Widenor and examine the new, aggressive Bulldog defensive philosophy that is built on pressure, pressure and more pressure!