Tony goes one-on-one with the Magnolia Bulldogs’ Head Football Coach, Sterling Doty.
Tony: Third day of practice, how do like what you are seeing so far?
Sterling Doty: We really like what we see out here. We’ve got a young squad coming back. We lost a lot of good seniors. We don’t have a whole lot of experience. Our guys a coming out in the right frame of mind. We are coming out and working hard and progressing and getting better every day. We are really excited about the 2018 season.
Tony: What are you expecting for the 2018 season? What are your keys to success?
Sterling Doty: Week in and week out we want to put ourselves in a situation once we get into the heart of district play to number one clinch that district playoff spot and number two would be to win the district championship and then come back and be playing in December. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder with the amount of young guys we’ve got. Hungry. We’ve had a great off season. I believe, and quite a few other people believe, we got one of the best districts in the state of Texas with College Station, a state champion, Lufkin, a fourth round team in 6A, Magnolia West, defending district champion, up and coming Tomball that’s really strong, got a lot of good kids coming back, and Willis has got a good coach, Waller does a great job over there, Caney Creek had a strong season last year, Coach Svendsen is really building that program. I believe we’ve got one of the top districts in the state of Texas. We’ve got a great challenge ahead of us. I like our mentality right now. We are really focusing on taking it day-by-day, trusting in our process, and all of us coming together and being all-in. That’s a little bit of what we are working for right now. We can’t be more proud of where we are at.
Tony: Tell me about a few of the leaders on your team.
Sterling Doty: We’ve got three starters coming back on the offensive line. And we’ve got another kid that got to play quite a bit. Really excited about having those guys up front. If you win the line of scrimmage, you’ll be successful a lot of times. We’ve got Kade Bond, Tristan Simpson, and Cole Vairin all coming back. Offensive skill we’ve got Ben Renfro. Ben had six-hundred fifty yards last year and six touchdowns his sophomore year. He was an all-district receiver. Then we’ve got three really good running backs that are going to run behind that offensive line. All of them bring a little something different to the table. We feel good about our ability to move the ball down the field. Our quarterback situation is a little bit up for grabs. We’ve got two guys that are fighting for it. They are doing some really good things. And we’ve got some areas that we’ve got to grow in. We’ll see how that plays out. Both have really good tools and a great mind-frame when they come out here ready to work. We have a new defensive coordinator this year, Ryan Gentry. Ryan comes here from Paul Pewitt High School. He was the head coach and athletic director out there in Omaha, Texas. He’s done a fantastic job. He kids are playing fast, believing, playing with great technique. We feel good about the defensive line. Uriel Gutierrez, defensive tackle. Lautaro Bernal. We have a mike linebacker, Ty Botkin, who has been flying around playing great football. He’s dad is a former NFL player, Kirk Botkin, used to coach at South Carolina with Steve Spurrier. Ty has grown up in a football family. We are glad to get him back here to Texas and have Ty playing for us. In the secondary we’ve got Hunter Kitchens who was our best corner last year. We feel really good about him and the group we have there in the secondary. Going back on offense, our three running back are Darren Battle, Chad Bradley, and a sophomore named Mitch Hall. All three of them are doing some really good things.
Tony: Give me a few players that we don’t know right now that we’ll know before the season is over?
Sterling Doty: I think Kade Bond is an offensive lineman that is going to warrant some division 1 offers after his junior year. We’ve also got Hunter Kitchens in the secondary who is playing really good right now in our free safety spot. And Ty Botkin our Mike linebacker.