They say it’s lonely at the top.
Maybe, just don’t tell the women who play soccer at Navarro College.
If it feels like rush hour in Dallas, it’s because Navarro is loaded with players this season — well, overloaded.
“We’ve never had this many players,’’ said assistant coach Aric Bonner, whose wife Debbie is the head coach of the team. “We usually have about 21 players, and this year we’ve got 27. It’s different.’’
Bonner feels good about the depth of talent, but admits it’s going to take a while to sort it all out.
The Bulldogs open their season at 4 p.m. Saturday in Tyler against Barton. They play Laramie in Tyler at 3 p.m. on Sunday and lay their home opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
This weekend will be a serious test for the new Bulldogs. Both Barton and Laramie are national powers. Navarro opens the season ranked No. 13 in the nation in the NJCAA poll, but that ranking is based as much on what the Bulldogs have done in the past as what they might do in the future.
After all, Navarro returns only four players from last year’s team that lost in the district final. Two of those players — Judith Bast, a midfielder, and Lexie Riggs, a defender — were all-conference players, and they will need to be leaders on and off the field for a team with 23 freshmen.
“We’ve got a ton of kids,’’ Bonner said.
The loss of Nugene Nugent, who was a talented scorer and is now at the University of Memphis and helped Navarro win 17 games last year, would be tough enough, but the Bulldogs have to replace starters all over the field.
Not only is Navarro young, but Bonner knows it will take time to find the right mix, the perfect chemistry that is as important — or more important — in soccer as in any sport.
“It’s going to be one of those deals where we have to figure out they fit together,’’ Bonner said. “Freshmen are freshmen. One day they look really good and the next day they look like they’ve never seen the field before.’’
The wealth of players is a by-product of Navarro’s success and could prove to be the blueprint for a big year.
“It’s kind of a different year for us,’’ Bonner said. “We’ve got more bodies. It speaks to the fact we’re getting known and being perceived as a place to come and have a positive experience. In the past 10-12 years we’ve finished in the top 15.’’
It may take a little patience. Bonner said none of the freshmen have jumped out.
“They have all continued to make positive strides,’’ he said/ “I can’t say there’s one who is heads and shoulders above the rest.
“The lineup will change from game to game. This time of year it’s really hard to tell. By early September it will start to separate.’’
Still, having a logjam of players is an enviable position .
“It’s not a bad problem to have,’’ Bonner said. “It would be bad if we didn’t have enough. We’ve got plenty of bodies. Now we just have to figure out how they fit into the puzzle.’’
They say it’s lonely at the top.
GC Baseball: Kerens beats Cayuga 5-1, wins first district title since 1981
The wait is over.
And it came just in time for Brett Anderson, who left it all on the mound Tuesday night at Kerens, where he pitched a masterpiece to lead the Bobcats over Cayuga, 5-1, and help the program win its first baseball district title since 1981.
“I've got no gas left. I'm out,'' said Anderson, a senior lefty who stopped Cayuga cold, holding the three-time defending district champs to just three singles while striking out 14.
GC Basebal Roundup: Corsicana blasts Jacksonville; BG wins huge district game
The Corsicana Tigers wrapped up district play with a dominating 9-0 win over the Jacksonville Indians behind Trevor Nolen, who shut out the Indians and allowed only one hit over 6 1/3 innings. Donovan Fields came on to retire the final two hitters. The Tiger pitchers limited the Indians to only 25 plate appearances in the game and no runner to reach third base.
Rodeo: Navarro County Derrick Days -- Burton is back
Professional rodeo entertainer Ronald Burton returns to the Navarro County Exposition Center April 25-26 to entertain the crowd at the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro Rodeo.
Huggins to call shots at Derrick Days Rodeo
West Huggins will serve as the announcer for the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro rodeo. The Gardendale native is the reigning three-time United Professional Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year.
Dill gets 300th win in Navarro baseball sweep of Bossier Parish
Navarro baseball’s weekend in Louisiana was significant on a number of fronts. On one hand, coach Whoa Dill notched his 300th win. On the other, and perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs simply continued to play well. The Bulldogs swept Bossier Parish to move 14-11 in Region XIV East Zone play, and 27-17 overall.
Mildred sending five to regional track meet
Sasha Ballard set a school record in the 800 meters and paced a contingent of five Mildred thinclads heading to Stephenville for the regionals later this week.
Kerens boys grab four gold medals at area track meet
Tavion Hall and Jalon Moss each snared a pair of gold medals as Kerens boys finished second at their area track meet last week with 88 points.
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.
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- GC Baseball: Kerens beats Cayuga 5-1, wins first district title since 1981