Shane Doege had this vision all along for Wortham.
He graduated from Texas Tech. Mike Leach was the coach then. Doege fell in love with the Air Raid Offense.
His players at Wortham have fallen for the spread offense too.
“I love it a lot more than the other offenses,” said quarterback Witty Busby, who has also seen the Bulldogs line up in the Double Wing and the I Formation during his high school career.
“I’m able to see over the line of scrimmage being in the shotgun,” said Busby, who is a 6-foot senior. “It’s going to help us a lot. It’s hard to defend a spread offense.”
Doege joined then head coach Jerry Young’s staff five years ago as the defensive coordinator and watched as the Bulldogs ran the Double Wing for two seasons. All 11 offensive players were packed in the tackle box.
“It was basically three yards and a cloud of dust,” Doege said.
When Doege took over as head coach last season, he installed the I Formation, but always had the Bulldogs in the Gun offense in the back of his mind.
He finally used it in Wortham’s first district game last season against Meridian. The Bulldogs passed for 291 yards, but it took them a while to find the end zone. Wortham scored two touchdowns in the final 8:44 of the game — Busby scored the game-tying TD playing receiver — and the Bulldogs won 15-8, the crucial win that put them in the playoffs.
Wortham also threw for 320 yards against Dawson. The Bulldogs had some success passing the ball in their district losses to Hubbard and Frost.
The spread had arrived in Wortham.
“I wanted us to get there and not be to drastic with it,” Doege said. “I wanted to move out and use more of the field. I felt like with our kids from seventh grade all the way up to 12th grade it fits us and who we are.
“We have a lot of guys in the program who can catch the ball and run disciplined routes. And the best teams I’ve been a part of have run the gun offense.”
Doege was an assistant at Hillsboro when the Eagles went to the spread and made the playoffs for the first time in 50 years. Doege got a firm grasp of the offense as an assistant at Groesbeck under the tutelage of Corsicana offensive line coach Richey Cutrer, who was the Goats head coach at the time.
“Richey knew the offense better than anyone I’ve ever been around,” Doege said.
The Bulldogs transitioned into the spread midway through last season. Only Busby, the Bulldogs’ quarterback in their season opener, handed over the starting job to Brandon Campbell.
The move was two-fold. It gave Wortham a run-pass option at quarterback. And Busby was a needed asset at receiver.
Campbell and Busby as a quarterback-receiver tandem helped the Bulldogs get to the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Now Busby is back in as the starter with Campbell graduating.
It was tough losing the job, but it’s great having it back, Busby said.
“It was hard on me at first,” Busby said. “Once I realized what role they needed me to play I was fine with it. I liked receiver because of the touches I was getting. But I’d rather be at quarterback than receiver.”
Busby threw the ball well in Saturday’s scrimmage against Kerens. He didn’t throw any interceptions and the Bulldogs scored on their first drive. He completed passes to five different receivers. The spread offense is designed to spread the ball around.
“Some of the passes that weren’t complete, his footwork was perfect,” Doege said. “And his leadership has been great.”
Busby’s work during the summer has paid off. He went to a University of Texas passing camp, where he was able to get one-on-one time with Longhorn coaches, including offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.
“It really helped me with my footwork and vision,” Busby said. “It taught me how to read defenses.”
Doege has seen improvement in his receivers. One of them, 6-0, 170-pound senior Kenneth Freeman, didn’t play football last season, but is back in the program. He had a tremendous 7-on-7 season, gaining confidence against bigger schools Corsicana and Mexia.
“He’s a big asset we didn’t have last year,” Doege said. “He does a lot for us. Witty and him are close. He’s gained a lot of confidence in him.”
Busby said he’s confident in all of his teammates, and can see the offense helping the Bulldogs improve on last year’s 4-6 record.
“Our line has gotten better,” Busby said. “They’re able to pick up blocks and see where the pressure is going from. Our receivers know the offense better and our running backs are doing very well with their cutbacks. This has been great.”
Shane Doege had this vision all along for Wortham.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week