Lessons from rough 2016 will help Stamford this year


STAMFORD, Texas - The 2016 season was a rare one for the Stamford Bulldogs, and not for good reason.

Stamford went 2-8 overall and did not make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

"Last season was a learning experience for us," said senior offensive and defensive lineman H.D. Lewis. "There's a lot more than football to the game.

"We all learned how to be better teammates to each other. I think we all learned a little bit about each other, and what it takes to work with each other a little bit better. We learned what didn't work and we know how to fix that."

But now those players that were young are a year older, and with added experience. Eight starters return on both offense and defense for head coach Ronnie Casey's team.

"[Last season] wasn't quite too fun," said senior tight end and linebacker Lonnie Applin. "There were a lot of younger people stepping up and I think it was just a learning stage for us. I think, now this year coming back, we're looking really good."

Stamford will feature a gifted pair of running backs with Steven Johnson and R.J. Smith.

"Those are big parts of our team," said Applin. "Those guys are really something. they have a lot of talent."

Going through a last place finish in District 4-2A Division II has toughed the Bulldogs. Lewis described them as fighters.

"The reason I say that is because of how much adversity we've been through throughout the years."

Stamford will open the season against powerhouse Brock on Friday, Sept. 1 at home, then play at well-respected Munday a week later.