Special to the Daily Sun Todd Wills
The Hubbard Jaguars haven’t lost a district game in two seasons under alum Craig Horn. That’s the mark of a successful program.
Yet, the Jaguars start this season trying to forget a disappointing end to 2012.
Bremond 49, Hubbard 28.
That’s been with the Jags every day on the practice field during two-a-days. Bremond scored 35 points in the second half to rout Hubbard in an area round playoff game.
"We gave up,” said senior lineman Kenyon Mathis.
A few players did, senior wide receiver/outside linebacker Nick Johnson said. He had five receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
"I played my heart out,” Johnson said. "This season is big for everybody. Our team is doing great. Our seniors are leading a lot."
The Jaguars have 14 seniors, and they along with the edgy Horn have set a tone during the first two weeks of two-a-days.
"This was the best weeks of two-a-days we’ve ever had,” Alderman said. "This is going to be a good year."
Horn sees a team that has its physical edge back. The Jaguars are always talented, but they have to be tough too.
Horn felt that slipped away last season, so he’s emphasized being physical while again starting his practices at 2 p.m. every day.
"We have to be more physical,” Horn said. "We didn’t finish last season. We have seniors this year who can lead. We’ll bounce back."
Practices weren’t focused enough last season, Alderman said, and that’s on the players. There was too much joking around.
Teams can be loose if the leadership is there from the players to take things to a more serious level.
"We only did what we needed to do,” Alderman said. "Coach Horn has worked us harder this year than last year. I like that."
The Bremond game serves as motivation, and so did sitting at home while district runnerup Frost made a run to regional finals last season. Hubbard beat Frost 44-27 last year. The Polar Bears nearly beat Tenaha, losing 34-30. If Frost had gained two yards on the final play, the Bears probably would have been playing for a state championship.
"We thought we should have gone that far,” Mathis said. "Honestly we think this year’s team will go that far."
Added Alderman: "We were happy for Frost. But we know we could have gone that far and maybe played them again."
So the Jaguars, who are District 9-1A-DII favorites again this season, are out to get back to the playoffs and redeem themselves for what happened against Bremond.
"That game will stay in the back of our minds for a while,” Johnson said. "We don’t want that to happen again."