MCGREGOR, Texas — In a hotly contested District 11-3A I, the McGregor Bulldogs shocked the state by earning a spot in the playoffs in 2020. This season, the Bulldogs are underdogs yet again but believe they have the tools to compete.
McGregor lost a big group of seniors to graduation, including playmaking quarterback VeAndre McDaniel, but the confidence from a season ago has carried over into this season.
"We feel like we can do anything after last season and after people doubted us and put us last in the district," junior Daerius Dixon said.
The Bulldogs pulled off stunning upsets over a few Central Texas powerhouses like Rockdale and Cameron Yoe before falling in the first round of the playoffs.
"As we all say, 90 percent of it is believing they can do it," Head Coach Mike Shields said. "So, if they believe they can do it, hopefully we can get it done."
Shields said their success this season will start on the defensive side of the ball, despite returning only three defensive starters. Players say they have adopted a new defensive philosophy.
"Defense will be a big strength this season," junior Jayden Benitez said. "I think Coach Shields knows what he's doing on defense, and it's really working right now."
"McGregor's always been about defense, so I'm hoping we can step up this year and limit the scores. If our defense is ready to play, then we should be straight," senior Kobe Reineke added.
The Bulldogs will be led on offense by senior Chad Lorenz, who ran for 1,527 yards last season, second most among schools from McLennan County.
McGregor opens the season picked to finish fifth in District 11-3A I but say they thrive in the role of underdog. They expect to be in the playoffs once again.
The Bulldogs open the year against Hillsboro.