Daniel Alvarez

Daniel Alvarez tackles a Velma-Alma quarterback. Now, the Empire Bulldogs look to bounce back and face off against an Alex team that has eliminated them the past two seasons.

Empire and the Alex Longhorns have had several battles in the post-season. Now, in the 2020 season, the Bulldogs hope to strike back against the team who has eliminated them in those battles.
Winning a district title and having the second best start in school history at 9-1, the Bulldogs will host the Class B State Championship second round battle which happens to be the first playoff game for both teams.
Coach Brant Hayes, who is in his second season with the Bulldogs, watched the team face off against Alex last year at their place. He hopes this year’s match will go to a different tune.
“Us as a staff have been preparing during the bye week and we kind of let the kids rest ,” Hayes said. “I think the bye week treated us good and we did a lot of conditioning and lifting and gave them a little break and we are sticking to that same game plan as the last one and hope we go on a run like we did earlier this season.”
Winning the district title, the Bulldogs will be guaranteed to host this week and if they get the victory, they will receive hosting duties the next week as well. 
“I think the more film we watch and the more we study, I think as a whole group we are better than they are and their running back and free safety kid is in a whole class by himself,” Hayes said. “He is one of the fastest kids we have seen and it is probably one of the better players in the state at our level. Defense will have to contain him and stay after him. Offensively, our plan is to run the football at him kind of like we did the whole year.”
Going into the playoff battle, Empire’s team and the community are excited for the game and hope for a good result.
“It has been exciting … the kids have talked about it and it is a big deal and they know what is at stake and these guys have beaten them out the last two years,” Hayes said. “I think they are looking for the challenge and they are up for it and ready to get after it.”
Game time will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Empire High School.

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