The countdown for the 2019 season is less than five days and the Empire Bulldogs are ready to travel for their week zero game after completing their pre-season Friday evening with a scrimmage.
Empire’s home crowd filled the stadium to watch their 2019 Bulldogs compete in a home scrimmage, it will be their only time to see them at home until Sept. 20.
Bulldogs are led by first year coach Brant Hayes, who got to see the team in action against Caddo, and he said besides some hiccups on defense he was impressed with his team and what he saw.
“I thought we did a really good job up front and those guys were one of those groups that we are going to have to really come together as a group,” Hayes said. “I thought they did a really good job with Caddo being really big and physical. I thought overall offensively we played really well and defensively as well. We had some busts a couple of times and let them score two times as far as the first group. As a whole, I thought it was a good place to be and good place to start.”
Dealing with some early injuries, Hayes said that some of the players were playing in different positions that they haven’t really seen in practice and will be preparing this week as a normal game week.
“We are getting into that game week mode where we will watch the film from Friday and then the offense and defensive skills will be brought into Tuesday and Wednesday,” Hayes said. “Then we will kind of bring it together with special teams and scripted practice on Thursday before we head to Quinton. It will be a long trip, but we have watched Quinton on film and they are a pretty good team so we are behind the eight ball as it is because of the three and half hour trip that is going to take it out of us a little bit. Those guys won those spots and we will do a lot of individual work with those guys and get some group time together this week.”
A year ago, the Empire team got into the first round of playoffs, finished third in the district and have been picked number two in 2019. Hayes said the Bulldogs are ready to kick off the 2019 season.
“I just think what I saw a while ago is just trying to overcome that long trip because you know a lot of these guys haven’t played in a varsity football game yet,” Hayes said. “Making that long trip on top of it is the first time they will be under the lights on Friday night so I think we just have to do a good job of staying calm and staying composed while really knowing our keys and reads.”
Kickoff for the Bulldogs will be at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 on the road against Quinton. They will have a bye week on Sept. 7 before facing off against Velma-Alma on the road on Sept. 14.