Nathan Bural

Reporter Sports Staff

On January 3, I was sitting on my couch watching the Dallas Cowboys play their “win-and-in” season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

And by the second quarter I was already thinking, better luck next year.

Well next year is now.

The Cowboys now have the same record as the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Glen Rose Tigers are one of 176 Texas teams in class 3A - now counting the Division I and II champions - who went disappointed last year, but now start with a clean slate as two-a-days get underway.

I’ve been a sports fan since as long as I can remember and, to me, walking into a packed stadium on a crisp, cool Friday night in Texas has to be one of my top three favorite things in sports.

There are several reasons why I’m excited about the Tigers’ 2009 season, and here are a few:

1. Fast paced offense.

Colt Plaster will take the reigns under center for the Tigers in ‘09 and completely change the complexity of the offense in Glen Rose for the first time in at least two years.

Former Tiger signal caller Derek Thompson was a great high school quarterback, and with his strong arm and physical presence under center the offense seemed predictable sometimes—but make no mistake, the offense was very effective.

When coming to the games, I knew the Tigers were going to pass the ball 20-30 times a game with the occasional run, but this year I don’t know what to expect from the speedy Plaster, Chase Evatt and the very talented group of receivers coming back.

It should be fun to see how Head Coach Tommy Dunn utilizes his new brand of quarterback.

2. Smash mouth defense

With the return of four key defensive linemen from last season and arguably the best tandem of safeties in Class 3A — as well as some of 4A — the Tiger defense should be a force to be reckoned with in ‘09.

With Hunter Ratliff, Seth Mann, Ivan Funez and Jimmy Darch supplying pressure to the opposing quarterbacks and All-State safety Immanuel Morales and Shelby Junge awaiting in the defensive backfield, I can’t foresee many teams lighting up the scoreboards.

The key point of concern comes at the linebacker position, but Jesus Chavez and Collin Lane saw district action last season and look to fill the void left by the graduating seniors.

3. Experienced coaching

Coach Dunn has been around the coaching block.

He’s been from sub-par to state titles in Stephenville and went to the playoffs in his first season as a head coach last year.

Dunn was a part of two back-to-back state championship runs in 1993 and ‘94 and again 1998 and ‘99 when the Yellow Jackets went through a similar quarterback transition that Glen Rose is undergoing now.

In ‘98, Dunn saw pocket passer Kelan Luker hoist the state championship trophy and Stephenville followed it up with another title in ‘99 after speedster Kendall Briles took over.

Dunn has coached alongside arguably one of the greatest high school football coaches of this era in Art Briles, and has imported that particular offensive scheme and an offensive coordinator who is familiar with it.

There is no doubt that Glen Rose is in good hands.

Now we must keep in mind that these are all opinion based on the potential put on display over last season and the 7-on-7 season, and the teams have to play each game, each week.

But nobody ever punches their ticket to the championship during two-a-days, and I’m looking forward to a great season.