MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – District 2-6A is a competitive district to push through and make the playoffs. For the Midland High Bulldogs, they know what it means to be cut out of a post-season run. Last year, the Bulldogs were just shy of playoffs, after finishing fifth in the district.

A 5-5 record season resulted in the Bulldogs being seven points away from making the playoffs.

“We lost it by seven points last year and that was really hard on us and that’s all we’ve been thinking about,” a heartbroken senior linebacker Adam Alvarado uttered.

Now, they use that anger to strengthen themselves for the coming season.

“Well, I think we’d be crazy to not use that as motivation,” head coach Thad Fortune said. “Because it’s true, and the fact also is that we weren’t good enough and so I think you got to be honest with your team about both things. You know, your record doesn’t lie. We were a 5-5 football team and we were a spot out of playoffs. We have to kind of look that in the mirror and accept it.”

Last season, Fortune said they had a great chance to get above five hundred this year, so long as they learn from last year’s weaknesses.

“You know, we’ve got a big mountain to climb and every phase of the game has something that we can get better at and that we’ve got to get better at,” Fortune added. “I think both sides of the ball have to get better on third down, both sides have to get better at the turnover aspect of the game. I think we need more takeaways and we need to give it away less and so, and then we need more big plays on special teams.”

He added it’s easy to see how much those minor details made a difference in last season’s play.

“The weeks we did those things, we had good weeks, and the weeks when we didn’t, we lost,” he shrugged. “So, we’ve just really got to work hard and that’s not gonna be easy in our district. Nobody, where we’re sitting right now, I don’t think anyone above us is taking a step back for sure and nobody has really taken a step back. We got ground to make up, and we got to try really hard to do that.”

For the current Bulldog seniors, watching their senior leaders lose a chance at playoffs last year was tough, and now, this is their last chance to prove the doubters wrong.

Senior linebacker Turner Squire said, “With how hard all those seniors tried last year and them going into the locker room and them knowing they were only seven points away. Obviously, it was hard for everyone but I think we got well prepared during this offseason this year and we’re ready to knock off those seven points.”

“It was heartbreaking just going inside the locker room and just seeing everybody sad and everybody mad about the loss. We don’t want to go through that again,” Alvarado shrugged.

This year a strength for the Bulldogs is their defense.

Fortune added, “I think defensively, we did great on first and second downs a lot and then we kind of had back-breaking third downs so we got to learn how to get off the field when we do a good job on first and second downs.”

“We have our whole defense with us still, we’re all seniors and we’re looking to finish this thing out good,” Alvarado emphasized.

A focus right now is to continue to instill hard work and discipline.

Fortune said, “Hopefully, last year one thing that we did is establish an identity of playing hard and never quitting. So we got to continue to work on that, not just on games, we got to learn to do that in practice as well.”

And Squire emphasized, “I mean, just our high intensity, having unquestioned effort every single play and just playing our hearts out.”

But those seven points that made the difference last year, are all the Bulldogs have on their mind, wanting them back now more than ever.

“Coach Fortune all off-season’s been talking about how we were seven points away from playoffs,” Squire mentioned. “And I think we just need to come out with the same intensity we did last year, and we went from 2 and eight to five and five and just keep on edging away at it and go for a district title.”

And Squire said they do that by working as a unit.

“We’d rather have a player that makes the team better than a great player so, I think everyone on the team doesn’t really have any personal goals, we’re all looking forward to district title and just getting those seven points back and winning all the games that we’re capable of winning.”

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine predicts the Bulldogs will once again finish fifth in the district, once again just outside of making the cut for the postseason. Their season kicks off at home against El Paso Montwood, on August 25th.

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