ZEPHYR — There’s a new coach in town to take over the reins of the Bulldogs this season. Shannon Williams is coming from his last position as head coach at Rankin where he went 26-10 in three seasons and guided the Rankin Red Devils to the state playoffs two out of the last three seasons.
Williams started his duties as athletic director May 15, two days after competing against some of his future Zephyr players in track.
“I was at the state track meet in May and had seven athletes from Rankin competing against some of the Zephyr kids,” Williams said. “I was competing against them on a Friday and I started here in Zephyr that following Monday.”
Williams was attracted to the Zephyr job because of the winning tradition and his family ties to the area. His 62-year-old father lives 20 miles away in Panther Creek.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 2012 season where they went 7-4 and were bi-district finalists.
The program is in rebuilding mode after losing 12 lettermen to graduation, but Williams is confident that the Bulldogs will be in the hunt in a very tough Six-Man Division I District 9 race.
“This is one of the toughest districts in the state. I just left a tough district, so I’m confident that we will build a winning tradition here,” Williams said.
With two months on the job already under his belt, Williams has been earnestly studying the competition he will face this year.
“Santa Anna has a pretty good kid coming back, Rochelle lost most of their offensive line, Lometa has a good coach, they’re headed in the right direction you never know about them, they have a pretty good tradition, May will be better than last year,” Williams said.
Williams brings a driven, type A personality style of leadership and a high energy level to his position.
“The last three years at Rankin, I had a top 5 defense in the state every year. I’m going to put a new emphasis on defense at Zephyr,” Williams said.
Williams is expecting 20-25 kids at two-a-days and will have plenty of players to choose from to plug into his offensive and defensive schemes.
The Bulldogs have two offensive and two defensive starters returning.
Williams says most of the positions are open at this point, but he has made one key pre-season decision at starter.
“Bradley Lewis will be my quarterback and safety this year,” Williams said.
Key players to watch are safety Jaydon Ezra, Dylon Corker, offensive lineman Taylor Miller and Seth Jesko at spreadback. Kade Miller is returning at kicker and made the all-region team last season.
Williams inherits a program that has undergone several coaching changes in the last few years, but should be stable for the foreseeable future.
“I plan on being here for a while,” Williams said. “Zephyr has always had a good tradition and I just want to do something to bring that back.”
Williams is highly regarded in six-man football circles, and will travel to Wyoming Sunday for a week to be a speaker at a six-man coaching clinic. He will be back in time for two-a-days however, and looks forward to bringing the Zephyr Bulldogs back to prominence in six-man football.