BELTON, Texas — After COVID-related issues derailed their 2020 season, the Belton Tigers hope year two of the Brett Sniffin Era will bring a return to playoff football.
Sniffin started with the Tigers during the start of the pandemic, meaning he could not hold many spring and summer workouts. Mid-season, the Tigers faced a major COVID outbreak and were forced to cancel their annual rivalry game with Temple.
This season, things look to be far less hectic, and Sniffin believes that is good news for the Tigers.
"Having a full summer that's a normal summer, schedule-wise, and then being out here in the fall at the same time, it feels like we finally got our feet underneath us," Sniffin said.
Despite their COVID issues in 2020, the Tigers were narrowly edged out of the playoffs, finishing fifth in District 12-6A. Along the way, they by one point to district foe Bryan before falling in overtime to Shoemaker. A win in either of those games could have dramatically impacted the Tigers' playoff chances.
Sniffin believes turning the corner in those close games will come down to their defense.
"That's what we need to do to improve our football team around here," he said. "Our offense will be young and inexperienced, but they will be more athletic than they were last year. Our defense is going to have to carry us at the beginning."
The Tigers will have at least one dominant force on the offensive end. Tight End Bryan Henry committed to the University of Houston over the summer.
Belton players say their goal is to return to the playoffs in 2021.
"I think it's just gonna be up in our head and down to whether we want it more than they do," senior Aaron Bain said. "Every team we're gonna play is gonna be good, and we're gonna have to do our best to execute everything we do."
Belton enters the year projected to finish fifth once again, just on the outside of the playoff picture.
The Tigers open the season against Georgetown.