Head Coach Shannon Wilson, Bullard Panthers Building On Last Year’s Breakthrough Success
Before Shannon Wilson took the head football coaching job at Bullard in 2010, he was an assistant at Southlake Carroll, one of the top Class 5A programs in the state.
Even Wilson wasn't sure he wanted to leave.
“To be honest it was going to take a special place for me to leave Southlake," Wilson said. "When I got here I thought it was just going to be a trip to East Texas, I’d never been out here before."
Then he got a look at Bullard's brand new athletic facilites and school.
"But I got here, met with (the superintendent), saw the facilities and the school and went home thinking it was a great place," he said. "The thing that was a bit concerning was a lack of success in football. Really, what we’ve tried to do is to create an environment where everybody’s important and everybody plays a role.”
It didn't take long for Wilson's philosophy to yield results. Bullard reached the playoffs for the first time since 1993 and went three rounds deep in the playoffs, capturing the program's first two postseason wins last year.
The Panthers (3-0) have continued to build upon their success, outscoring their first three opponents by a combined score of 124-12.
“We’ve got a bunch of kids back that have played together for a while and that’s helped us play faster and they know what they’re doing," Wilson said. "We’re relying on our experience.”
Bullard was considered an afterthought by most in the new District 16-3A, which is home to four state champions since 2004. Minds might be changing now, but Wilson downplays using the underdog card as motivation.
“We focus on what we can control and we can’t control any of that stuff and it’s down the road anyway," he said. "We’re just trying to work to be the best we can each week. When we get (to district), we’ll worry about that when it gets here”
What Bullard's doing now is working just fine.
The Panthers average 41.3 points per game, led by their duo of quarterback Colton Mebane and receiver Haden Bryant. Mebane has passed for 527 yards and six touchdowns and is coming of a 111-yard rushing performance in last week's 14-0 victory over Diboll. Bryant has 14 catches for 330 yards and five TDs on the season.
“Colton has done a really good job of growing up even over last year, understanding the offense and his reads in the passing game," Wilson said. "He’s making good decisions. Haden has done a great job in the offseason, working hard to improve by getting even faster and working on his hands.
"Those guys have a good feel for each other, they’re a good combination and we need them to do well."
Bullard looks to remain unbeaten this Friday at home against Huntington (0-3).