Experience-packed Buffaloes eye big season in 2017
CROSS PLAINS, Texas - One of the biggest predictors to how a team will fare, especially early in the season, is how much experience they have.
You can't get much more experience than Cross Plains, which returns 10 starters on both offense and defense from an 8-4 team in 2016.
"I would assume its one of the most experienced [teams] in Texas," said seventh-year head coach Daniel Purvis. "There's not many times you bring back ten and ten starters. We got to pick up where we left off instead of starting over."
"It's not only building your ability, but it's also building your confidence in yourself and the teammates that you've been playing with for a while," said senior running back and linebacker Joe Crockett." I think that's the biggest thing."
The one starter that graduated from last year's team was Holden Senclair, but his role as quarterback and safety is a big void to fill, even for such an experienced bunch.
"We spent most of two-a-days trying to figure out who's going to replace our quarterback and that spot on defense," Purvis said. "I don't think one kid can fill it."
Caleb Hernandez has been chosen to start as quarterback. Among a team of 13 juniors and seven seniors he is the only sophomore on varsity, but Purvis said the experience around him has helped smooth the transition.
"He's been coming along, he's a smart kid, and everybody else knows what to do. That makes it a lot easier on him, learning the position. They're building him up and they're helping him. It's a really good situation to be in."
Hernandez will be able to rely on his teammates, including former KTXS Player of the Week running back Creed Goode, who ran for more than 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
Crockett, the senior two-way player, said the Buffaloes' goal for this season is to win district which would all but mean having to defeat perennial power Albany.
"We look at [Albany] and we see them as a normal football team, but there's something deeper with them," said Crockett. "Like the [New England] Patriots, they're used to winning and they just have confidence. But I think the new style of play we have is going to catch people off-guard."
Cross Plains opens the season on the road at Menard on Friday, Sept. 1. The Buffaloes' first home game is the following Friday against Perrin-Whitt.