IRAAN, Texas – First-year Iraan head coach Barry Bowman, the former offensive coordinator at Kermit, hopes to finally bring stability to the Braves’ historically successful program.
“We’re going to look at it like we’re going to try to win now,” said Bowman. “In the long run, we know this is a three-year deal.”
“Everybody’s loving this new coach. He brings a lot of energy,” said sophomore Braden Kent. “The guys he’s brought in bring a lot of energy. Everybody’s feeling good.”
After making it to the State Championship game in 2016, Iraan has been plagued the past two seasons by low enrollment numbers. At one point during the 2019 season, the Braves were forced to finish a game with ten players due to injuries. This past summer, the school briefly considered competing as a six-man football team.
“The first year, we want to get our foot in the door,” said Bowman. “We want to teach fundamentals, preach fundamentals, hammer fundamentals out, and then execution.”
Bowman’s son, sophomore Cole Bowman, will compete with Braden Kent to be the starting quarterback of Iraan’s pass-heavy offense.
“Our skill players: They’re fast. They have hands. They’re young,” said Cole Bowman. “Our linemen are all young. They’re pretty big for being that young.”
Youth is, in fact, featured through the Braves roster. Iraan does not have any seniors on the team. About half of the program is made up of freshmen. Many of them are expected to see notable playing time.
“Even though we’re younger than you, even though we’re smaller than you – we’re going to come to play,” said Barry Bowman. “I think that’s all we’re trying to teach them. Do what we do really well and then it’ll all work out.”
While the Braves are optimisitc about their future, they’re just as eager to finally get back in the win column.
Iraan has lost its last 19 games dating back to 2018.
“It would mean a lot,” said Adan Sanchez, one of two juniors for Iraan. “It would mean a lot for me because I know I’ve put in a lot of effort. For the others that didn’t experience a win, it’d be good for the town to finally experience one after two years.”