By Andy Pate
Maybe, maybe not— to dodge the question a bit. Bobcat success in 2022 will depend greatly on how well head coach Jason Herring and staff are able to put together a better defense than the one that allowed way too many points to champion Shiner in the 2021 Region IV final, score 55-14.
As usual, the Bobcats are expected to be able to put points on the score board quickly and often, with senior quarterback Caleb Hesseltine returning and, hopefully, available for the full season, with an offensive line headed by first-team all-stater J. R. Moore.
Herring’s task will be difficult. For the first time in four years he will be without Jordan Kelley, the superb all-round player who was named to the 2021 all-state first team. Kelley has signed to continue in football with the Columbia U. Lions of the Ivy League.
Also, the Bobcats graduate Antwaan Gross, their excellent wide-receiver and cornerback as well as all-state defensive lineman Ty LaFrance. To counterbalance, Herring will have available several experienced, though small running backs and a solid group of newcomers from a fine 2021 JV team.
Yet again, however, Shiner is expected to stand boldly in the Bobcats way. The Comanches graduate four first-team all staters — linemen Tyler Bishop, A. J. Patek and Hunter Nevid, and monster-fullback Doug Brooks —in addition to losing honorable mention all-state linebacker Eli Fric.
But the bad news for the Bobcats is huge: 2021’s player of the year, Shiner running back Dalton Brooks returns; and Dalton just may be the best running back in Texas high school 2022 football. Too, coach of the year Daniel Boedeker has proven his ability to build championship teams; and the Bobcats may well have to face him and his Comanches not just once but twice in 2022, in district play and in the playoffs.
The 2022 opener is some six months away, with Friday, August 26, the first game-date for most 2A teams. But already, coaches, players and fans are gearing up for another season of exciting Texas high school football.