The pieces fell perfectly into place for the Boling Bulldogs in their playoff run of 2016. The white and green machine rolled all the way to the 3A DII state championship game before falling to a fantastic Gunter squad.
Boling relied on the churning legs of quarterback Vernon Jackson, who rushed for 2,872 yards and 41 touchdowns. When Jackson broke free on dives up the middle or around the end, he looked more like Cam Newton in open field.
Boling lost its only non-district game to Hallettsville, a team that lost its only game in the state quarterfinals. They placed runner-up in District 14-3A DII after falling to perennial power East Bernard.
The Bulldogs roared past their first three playoff opponents — Comfort, Dilley and Odem — before needing a come-from-behind win over Lexington on a rainy, slick Friday night. They needed another late effort to get past Arp, 19-18, in the state semifinal at New Caney.
Many of the big names and heavy hitters are gone from last year’s team that made a rather surprising run to state. But, Jackson is back to operate the offense, and that means good news for Bulldog Nation.
RB/DE Kade Bickham, OL Larry Krushall, LB Josh Rangel
Kade Bickham was a unanimous selection as first-team all-district running back and he was also a first-team selection on defense. Krushall helped pave the way for a big-time run offense and Rangel was one of the defensive leaders.
QB Vernon Jackson, OL Jose Haro, LB Victor Reina
Jackson looked like a man-child last year en route to being named the district’s MVP on a list dominated with East Bernard players. Haro will be joined on the offensive line by Vincent Rodriguez and Fred Kuykendall, and Reina will take over as leader of the defense.
Boling wasn’t expected to make it to state last year, and they probably won’t be picked this year. Heck, they may not even be the favorite to win district.
Here’s how it all sets up this fall. The schedule is the same but the road trips are different. The Bulldogs must travel to both Hallettsville and East Bernard. Otherwise the Bulldogs have six home games (including four of their first five).
And then there’s Vernon Jackson. The returning quarterback is 6-foot-4 and weighs nearly 240 pounds, and he has good open-field speed. The Bulldogs may look like a one-man show in person, but in reality, they have what it takes to make another deep playoff run.
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