8-18 Wortham QB.JPG

Wortham quarterback Cooper Warren throws at Bulldogs practice on Tuesday. Warren is in a battle with Hance Spencer for the starting job this season, though he has the leg up, coaches say.

WORTHAM — The secrets are out about Jerry Young and the Wortham Bulldogs.

After they scored a surprise victory over Blooming Grove to open the season a year ago and similarly ambushed playoff teams Milred and Itasca, opponents will see Wortham coming as easily as they can hear the rumble of Young's Harley-Davidson.

"We snuck up on some people last year, there's no doubt about it," Young said.

Wortham rolls on without Golden Circle leading rusher, Jake Jones this season, who ran for 1,500 yards last year, as well as two all-state linemen in Blake Ridge and Spencer Thornton.

A running-back-by-committee approach replaces those threats with Hance Spencer, Chris McDaniel, Trace Shirley and Chris Perez expected to tote the ball. That is, if Spencer doesn't beat out junior Cooper Warren for the quarterback job.

"We probably won't have a 1,500-yard rusher and another 1,000-yard rusher like we had in Cameron Price," Young said. "But if we have four guys that get 700 yards apiece, well then we'll be alright."

Young noted that the team is not as physically imposing with the loss of Thornton and Ridge up front, so they'll adapt the offense to more of a speed and misdirection approach as opposed to a power run game.

"The personality of the team has changed a little bit, and so we're going to change a little bit of what we're trying to do," he said. "Now, we can work more on the nuances of the offense and the finer points of it to create the misdirection we're wanting."

One thing for sure, the Bulldogs will be tested in their first three games. They get a rematch with Blooming Grove at home, followed by a physical Riesel team before traveling to Mildred.

"All of the different facets we're going to see in our district, we'll see in the first few weeks," Young said. "We're going to find out whether we'll be able to compete right off the bat."

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