ETSN.fm Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll: No. 8, Sulphur Springs Wildcats
Head coach Greg Owens has turned Sulphur Springs into one of East Texas' most consistent winners in recent years. In Owens' eight years in charge, the Wildcats have won a state championship and are currently on a seven-year streak of at least eight wins.
Uptempo, high-scoring offenses fit Owens' intense personality perfectly, and the players don't seem to mind either.
In his first year at quarterback, Larry Pryor -- a Texas A&M commit, considered one of the nation's top safeties -- was about as smooth as it gets. Pryor (6-1, 185) passed for 2,666 yards and 26 touchdowns and added 1,027 yards and 16 TDs on the ground in leading Sulphur Springs to the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
There are some voids that need filling after the graduation of running back Willy Ivery, a North Texas signee who had more than 2,000 total yards of offense and 32 touchdowns a season ago, and Sulphur Springs' top two receivers.
Often overlooked is the Wildcats' offensive line, the majority of which has been playing together on the varsity for three years. Seniors Jess Jenkins, Landon Watkins, Seth Harred and Austan Davis will have as big an impact on the Wildcats' season as anyone else.
The defense struggled a season ago, which may have been a negative side effect to Pryor assuming the starting quarterback position. But with eight starters back, including three-year starter Zach Spigner at linebacker, Sulphur Springs expects to be much better on that side of the ball in the fall.
Sulphur Springs finished second in its district last season behind Texas High, and the with the addition of Longview to the new District 15-4A, the Wildcats' drive toward the playoffs got a little bit more challenging. Sulphur Springs will have to ward off threats from 14-4A's other two postseason squads from a season ago -- Hallsville and Marshall -- in order to keep its playoff streak alive.
2014 Sulphur Springs Wildcats Schedule
|Aug. 29||at Rockwall-Heath||L 33-21|
|Sept. 5||Sherman||W 41-0|
|Sept. 12||at Whitehouse||L 56-35|
|Sept. 26||*Texas High||L 42-29|
|Oct. 3||*at Mount Pleasant||W 50-28|
|Oct. 10||*at Greenville||W 50-33|
|Oct. 17||*Hallsville||W 49-42|
|Oct. 24||*at Pine Tree||W 47-27|
|Oct. 31||*Longview||L 49-6|
|Nov. 7||*at Marshall||L 36-27|
|Nov. 14||vs. Ennis (at Lindale)||L 52-47|