BIG LAKE, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – After losing their season opener last year, Reagan County won three games in a row.

Following the winning streak, the Owls did not win another game, got shut out three times, and finished winless in district.

“It didn’t go the way we wanted to, but we gained a lot of experience and now we have a lot more to look up to,” said senior defensive back and wide receiver Eduardo Encines.

“We got hit with the injury bug and then we were in the toughest district in the state of Texas. I mean, as far as 3A, we had three top-ten teams,” said head coach Kyle Brown who enters his second season leading the Owls. “To be honest with you, we were nowhere near the ability to be able to compete with teams like that.”

Realignment should boost this year’s prospects for Reagan County as a classification drop to 2A puts them in the same district as teams with similar enrollments.

The Owls have made big strides since their 0-11 season in 2019, but they still only have two district wins since 2018.

“We’re thankful we dropped, 2A is still going to be difficult, but we’re going to be playing teams that are more on our level as far as numbers,” said Brown.

The Owls return several skill position players on offense and most of their secondary on defense.

Elsewhere on the roster, there is inexperience including on the offensive line, but their confidence in each other and this group’s chemistry have the Owls thinking big.

“This year we’re looking for it. We got a lot of young guys, we have some experienced skill players and we’re expecting to have a winning season, maybe win a district championship,” said senior defensive end and tight end Dylan Odom.

One of the team’s most experienced players, Odom and the senior class are determined to change the program’s culture.

“Last year we didn’t really have any strong team chemistry. This year we got a lot of kids in here that want to win. So I’m really looking forward to setting the standard for Reagan County.”

A new standard comes with quality practice reps and consistent improvement, and the Owls have work to do to get to where they believe they’re heading.

“We can’t come out here and be good one day and then not be for the next. They’ve got to stack good days on top of each other,” said Brown, referring to his team’s performance during practice. “Until we do that, we’re a ways from getting to where we want to be.”

Reagan County begins their 2022 schedule at home against Wink on August 26th.