Eight local teams, including five from county, to compete at Zephyr's Bulldog Bonanza

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Eight local teams, including five from county, to compete at Zephyr's Bulldog Bonanza

Opening weekend of the high school football season is still more than two months away, but the 2014 Bulldog Bonanza in Zephyr will provide more local flavor than any of the previous renditions.

In years past, public and private schools from around the state flocked to Zephyr’s Bulldog Stadium, with two or three local teams helping comprise the field. This year, however, eight games will be played over a three-day span — Thursday, Aug. 28, Friday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Aug. 30 — and seven will consist of at least one team from the Bulletin’s coverage area, including five Brown County squads.

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday with the Zephyr JV facing the Blanket JV. The varsity teams take over at 8 p.m. Thursday when Lohn battles Oglesby. The local pace picks up Friday as Santa Anna challenges Meadow at 5 p.m., then May clashes with Calvert at 8 p.m. Saturday’s action begins with host Zephyr challenging Garden City at 10 a.m., followed by Blanket taking on Chillicothe at 1 p.m. At 5 p.m., Mullin will square off against Whitharral, while Rising Star will tangle with Lingleville in the 8 p.m. finale.

All 14 varsity teams competing this year are UIL sanctioned schools, half of which are district favorites according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. One squad is ranked in the preseason Top 10, while another competed for a state championship in 2013.

Santa Anna, which will reside in District 11-A Division I, is coming off a 5-5 campaign in 2013 and returns four starters on each side of the ball. The Mountaineers are picked to finish fourth in their four-team district. Meadow, which finished 4-6 last year and welcomes back three starters on each side of the ball, is picked to place third in District 3-A Division I.

May, a reigning Division I state finalist, brings back two offensive and two defensive starters from last year’s 14-1 squad. The Tigers are picked to finish second in District 10-A Division I behind No. 4 Strawn. Calvert, the No. 2 ranked team in Class A Division II, posted a 10-2 mark a year ago and returns five offensive and four defensive starters.

Zephyr is the preseason favorite in District 11-A Division I as the Bulldogs return three offensive and five defensive starters from last year’s 7-3 squad. Garden City, picked to capture the District 5-A Division I crown, sported a 10-2 record a year ago but brings back only two starters on each side of the ball.

Blanket is expected to hoist the championship trophy in District 8-A Division II as the Tigers welcome back three starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s 8-4 playoff squad. Chillicothe is the District 11-A Division II favorite as all of its starters return following a 5-6 playoff run in 2013.

Mullin, located in District 13-A Division II, will feature four offensive and four defensive starters from last year’s 6-4 squad, as the Bulldogs are projected to place third in its league race. Whitharral, stationed in District 4-A Division II, is the league favorite with five offensive and six defensive starters back from a 4-7 playoff squad.

Rising Star, picked to place second in District 8-A Division II, posted a 6-5 record last season and returns four starters on each side of the ball from a playoff squad. Lingleville, residing in District 10-A Division I, is picked to come in fourth as three starters return on each side of the ball from last year’s 10-3 team.

2014 Zephyr Bulldog Bonanza Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 28 - Saturday, Aug. 30

5 p.m. Thursday Zephyr JV vs. Blanket JV

8 p.m. Thursday Lohn vs. Oglesby

5 p.m. Friday Santa Anna vs. Meadow

8 p.m. Friday May vs. Calvert

10 a.m. Saturday Zephyr vs. Garden City

1 p.m. Saturday Blanket vs. Chillicothe

5 p.m. Saturday Mullin vs. Whitharral

8 p.m. Saturday Rising Star vs. Lingleville