Football two-a-days begin; DCTF picks Goats at No. 4 in district pre-season poll

By Stephen R. Farris, Mexia News Sports Editor

Two-a-days are underway for the Groesbeck Goats as they look to take on the competition in District 9-3A Division I. Head coach Steve Hale was fired up after Monday’s first official workout. The Goats will suit up in full gear this Friday to get in some heavy hitting before their Aug. 18 scrimmage at home against the Waco Connally Cadets.

According to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine’s pre-season predictions, Groesbeck is picked to finish fourth in District 9-3A DI this fall.

The Goats have seven offensive and five defensive starters coming back from a team that finished fourth in the eight-team district with a 4-3 mark and were 5-6 overall, finishing as a bi-district finalist in the 2016 UIL football playoffs.

Players to watch this season for the Goats will be athletes Brayden Bradley and Tyrique Carter, wide receiver/defensive back Ethan Davis, linebacker Landen Frazier, offensive lineman Mark Smith, DB Mike Jones, OL Nollen Rogers, WR Dylan Rand, WR Brandyn Canady, LB Myles McGruder and QB Ty Hale.

Hale was the backup to quarterback Mitchell Waller - who signed to play this fall for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor - last season, completed both of his pass attempts for a combined 42 yards, including one for a touchdown.

With Kane Sullivan getting the bulk of carries last season at running back, Canady, Frazier and Rand did get in some reps in the back field and that experience could generate into more touches on the ball for the trio this season.

Bradley was one of Waller’s targets last season, hauling in seven catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Davis and Rand were primary receivers from last year’s team. Davis caught 31 passes for 444 yards and a touchdown, while Rand roped in 36 catches for 304 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensively, the Goats should manage well, especially behind O-linemen Smith and Rogers.

Defensively, Groesbeck’s secondary is strong and could double their interceptions (eight total, last season), especially against pass-happy teams like Malakoff and Teague.

Coach Hale will look towards incoming junior varsity players to fill any gaps in the lineup, but overall the Goats have a good chance of moving up in the final standings.

Groesbeck opens the regular season on the road against McGregor at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 1.

Elsewhere in District 9-3A DI, the Malakoff Tigers are picked to finish first this season. The Tigers went undefeated in district play (7-0) and had a 14-1 record overall, finishing the playoffs as a state semifinalist, one-game away from playing in the Class 3A state championship.

The team returns five offensive and four defensive starters from last season, including quarterback Judd Miller, who threw for 3,527 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2016. Also returning is 1,000-yard rusher Braeshawn Williams (1,233 yards, 14 TDs).

Malakoff should have another strong showing this season.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362