For the second year in the Big Country, we have two teams competing in Class 5A in the Cooper Cougars and the Wylie Bulldogs.
The Cooper Cougars went through a transition year in 2018 under then-new Head Coach Aaron Roan. One year later, the Cougats head into District 2-5A Division I with an identity and a familiarity with playing under Roan.
The Cougars offense will be returning 8 starters on offense, including Running Back Noah Garcia to lead the rushing attack after running for 1,479 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. Junior Aidan Thompson will return at Quarterback to lead the passing attack after throwing for 1,954 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2018. Key athlete Daelin Campos will be a player to watch all over the field on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, the Cougars are loaded with 7 returners, including the district Preseason MVP in Linebacker Aeneas Favors leading the group. In 2018, Favors recorded 125 tackles and 8 sacks. In the secondary, keep the eyes peeled for DB Brady Miller, who recorded 8 intereceptions in 2018.
According to the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, Cooper is expected to return back to the playoffs again in 2019 after reaching the Area round before falling to Birdville. The Cougars are picked to finish in second behind 16th ranked Lubbock Coronado and ahead of Amarillo and Amarillo Caprock. Lubbock Monterey, Amarillo Palo Duro, and Lubbock are expected to miss the playoffs.
In the Wylie Bulldogs first year in District 3-5A Division II, things did not go well. The team did not win a game and therefore missed the postseason in their transition year. It was the first time in 25 years the Bulldogs missed the playoffs.
The Bulldogs get a clean slate to work with in 2019 as they return two starters on both sides of the ball. According to Head Coach Hugh Sandifer, there will be no official starters and every job is up for grabs for the Bulldogs prior to the season.
The key player to watch on the offensive side of the ball is rising Junior Jaxon Hansen who will take over the duties at Quarterback. Two-way player Brodey Baker will be a key target at Tight End for Hansen. Baker will also play a key role on defense at Linebacker. The Bulldogs offense looks to improve upon their 15.7 point average in 2018.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine is not overly optimistic this year with the Bulldogs, as they expect them to finish in 5th place, only ahead of Plainview. Lubbock-Cooper, Wichita Falls Rider, Canyon Randall, and Wichita Falls are picked to make the playoffs in 2019.