October 25, 2013

Bulldogs bulldozing along in Class A

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


It's been a few years since Minco had so many reasons to be this excited about football.

There was the 12-1 team in 2011, the only one in the last six years to record double-digit wins in a season. Last year the team went 6-5 and lost to Class A state champions Ringling in the first round of the playoffs. Even then, head coach Clint Warren said, there was a lot of buzz.

"When we were 6-5, the people of the town were excited about Minco football," he said. "That's what's good about this town. We were young last year, lost a few games that we shouldn't have lost"

So imagine the buzz now with a more experienced team, a 6-1 record, undefeated record in district play, and a ranking of fifth in the state among Class A teams. In Warren's fifth year in charge, the system is starting to pay off.

"We're a little more aggressive and physical this year," senior Joe Mitchell, who plays as a wide out on offense and lineman on defense, said. "We still do spread it out sometimes, but for the most part it's a more physical and aggressive team."

The players and coach Warren put that down to a more strict, and subsequently more beneficial, weight lifting and workout program. Whereas before the team would be focussed on simply making the playoffs, now they set the bar even higher.

"We don't even talk about the playoffs anymore; we're going to make the playoffs," Warren said. "Our goal in the end is a state championship, and that's all we've been talking about for five years. That's what we'll talk about next year."

It's this attitude and determination that will most likely see them past Crossing Christian (2-4, 0-3) this evening, but Warren said the team is careful not to get ahead of itself.

"I don't look at it any differently than when we played Watonga, Cashion, or Crescent," Warren said. "It's another game, and we have to work to get better every day. I know that's coach talk, but it's the truth."

This is also evident in their attitude about being ranked fifth in Oklahoma.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal," senior Jacob Overton, who starts as a running quarterback or running back in the Bulldog system, said. "It's nice to get, but that's something where you could go in as number one and lose in the first round of the playoffs."

Starting with Crossing Christian, Minco's focus is solely on finishing off the last three games of the season strong and carrying that momentum far into the postseason.

"Now, one of our goals is to practice on Thanksgiving," Warren said. "That means you're a week away from the semis. Once you get there, you just see what happens."