Casey, Stamford Bulldogs battling through injuries
Evan Ren, Abilene Reporter-Newshttp://www.reporternews.com/story/sport ... 734814001/
Stamford's Ronnie Casey speaks about SHS' injury problems Evan Ren
STAMFORD - The year 2017 was expected to be a return to prominence for the Stamford Bulldogs, with 16 of 22 positions filled by returning starters and a whopping 20 lettermen suiting up.
Midway through the season, however, lady luck isn't cooperating. In fact, she's being downright snobbish with Stamford (3-2), which currently has six two-way starters out with injuries.
That equates to 12 spots being occupied by reserves, and at least two of those players — seniors Noah Horn (QB/DB) and Agassi Hernandez (WR/DB) — are gone for the year. The remaining four are out indefinitely.
Oddly enough, the Bulldogs haven't collapsed. If not for an overtime loss at Hamlin last week, they would be 4-1 at the season's midpoint.
"We've been through it before," Stamford coach Ronnie Casey said. "We've been through it (in the past) when we couldn't recover. But this year, with our depth and the number of kids we have, the next one called up and the next one to step in to play have done a tremendous job."
With Horn (broken ankle) gone for the year, the Bulldogs have turned to Peyton Bevel behind center. The junior has responded by hitting 34 of 55 throws for 478 yards and four touchdowns thus far. Munday transfer Trevaul Mitchell adds even more depth at quarterback.
But Horn was also one of the Bulldogs' top defensive players, in addition to being a team captain. This has forced Stamford's players to quickly adapt on multiple fronts.
"Coach Casey is the man who is leading this deal and we've got a great coaching staff," defensive coordinator John Ward said. "We've just got to pick up and go, and we're blessed that we do have enough depth to have other kids step in."
Stamford is hoping to have at least three or four of its missing two-way players back for an Oct. 20 date with Post (4-1). But between now and then, the Bulldogs have a nondistrict game against Olney (0-5) and a district opener against Anson (3-2).
A valuable open date falls on Oct. 27, before league games against Hawley (3-2) and Forsan (3-2) down the stretch.
"We've been fortunate that we could just go to the next man up, because we're two or three deep across the board," offensive coordinator Jeremy West said. "That's a luxury we haven't had in the last two or three years."
Casey, in the meantime, has been burning the candle at both ends to keep the players upbeat while teaching them to deal with the adversity.
"Our coaching staff has done and awesome job, and our kids are resilient and have done a great job with all the expectations," Casey said. "We've not only lost players to injuries, but some of our players have lost family members. These are things you should never experience at their age.
"Any other year than this year or next year, it might not look so great for the Stamford Bulldogs with (all the adversity). But we've got good numbers and it's just a great group of kids."