After 10 years with the Vernon Lions, Matthew Hoover’s getting his shot at head coach, and after finishing 2-9 last season, that won’t cut it for the 2017 Vernon Lions.
“Bad, it was horrible,” Right Tackle Preston Newman said. “Unacceptable.”
“Last season, we really didn’t have good team chemistry,” Running Back Terrell Story said. “We didn’t really connect and vibe with each other. We didn’t do too good, but I think our defense did really good and I’m looking forward to this year.”
“It wasn’t good. We had our chances,” Hoover said. “I think we figured it up after the season was over and there seven of those games that we were leading at half time and that was just one of the things that we’re really trying to sell these kids on is just finishing, because you can’t just play a half in football and expect to win and that was kind of like the theme that happened to us a lot last year. Seven games you’re ahead at half time, that’s just not going to cut it.”
Hoover spent the last four years as defensive coordinator before taking the head coaching position.
“I’m not actually out there coaching a position right now, I’m just kind of floating group to group,” Hoover said. “Helping out where I can. I took a little bit getting used to the first couple of days. I’m like wow, I get to go watch everybody. I thought it was kind of cool. Get to see these coaches, really coaching these kids up and it was just exciting. I got fired up just watching them. So, it was a little bit of a change. It’s been a good change.”
The lions have 16 letterman returning, including Running Back Brandon McCallon, who rushed for 800 yards and three touchdowns, and Newman, who hopes to see major changes his senior year.
“I want to be just dominant, just straight dominance over every team we play,” Newman said. “If we lose, because I know we’re going to lose some, I just want to give it my all and walk off the field with my head high.”
“[I want to] see a lot of improvements, not to do what we did last year,” Story said. “Be a better team and make the playoffs.”
“Getting hype, encouraging your other teammates, working on the fundamentals of things getting it crisp and sound,” Newman said.
Hoover feels confident his team will produce it’s first winning season since 2014
“It’s been great, these guys have really bought into what we’re trying to do,” Hoover said. “They’re real energetic and they’re real eager to learn all the new things that we’re implementing. Especially offensively, defensively it’s pretty much the same, but there is some different terminology because it is somebody different calling it. So, they are picking up on things and they’re having a really good attitude about it.”
The Lions kick off their season at Abilene Wylie. They fell to the Bulldogs in last year’s season opener 15-9.