Blanket Tigers look to reclaim district title

Mike Lee
Special to the Bulletin
Blanket Tigers

Much of Casey Mund’s six-man coaching experience has come with newer programs trying to find some footing or teams struggling with the transition from 11-man to six-man football. He even coached at one school that’s no longer open.

So Mund is thrilled to be the new head coach at Blanket, which has won district in two of the last three years and is favored to win again this season. The Tigers rate as the favorite in District 15-1A Division II ahead of defending champion Brookesmith, dangerous Sidney, Rising Star and Panther Creek.

“It seems like everywhere I’ve coached, we’ve been rebuilding,” Mund said. “Being in a program like Blanket that’s competitive every year and where they have some tradition, that’s a big bonus.”

Mund is taking over for Tyler Tabor, who won 61 of 102 games and built the Tigers into perennial playoff contenders. Tabor also was an all-state quarterback for Blanket in 1979 and 1980, when the Tigers played 11-man football.

Mund inherits a team that lost just four seniors and returns half its starters from last year’s 7-4 finish after a bidistrict loss to Richland Springs. Brookesmith spoiled Blanket’s bid for a district championship three-peat last year with a 68-52 decision.

“I expect us to be in the hunt for the district title. I want us to be playing into Thanksgiving weekend,” Mund said. “We graduated some good players, but our junior class is really big with six kids. That’s half our team right there, and most of them played last year as sophomores. So they have some experience.”

Offensively, Mund plans to use junior returnee Brayden Day and junior move-in Levi Vazquez as deep backs where they can utilize their speed. The 5-foot-6, 150-pound Day rushed for 293 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s district championship game against Brookesmith.

Mund also plans to move senior Carlos Morales from quarterback, where he started last year, to running back.

“I want a little more power to run the ball, and Carlos (5-8, 175) is stocky and he can move well,” Mund said.

Hayden Rodgers, a 6-4, 215-pound senior, returns at center.

“He’s our field general in the line as far as knowing all the blocking schemes. He knows who everybody is supposed to block,” Mund said of Rodgers.

Mark Yeats, a 5-9, 200-pound senior, is the top candidate at guard, while junior Aydan Wheeler (6-3, 200) provides a tall target at tight end.

With Morales moving to running back, the Tigers opened preseason practices unsettled at quarterback between sophomore returnee Brenden Varner and freshman newcomer Isaac Smith. “They both are young, but they’ve picked up all the footwork really well. They may both end up being on the field at the same time,” Mund said of his quarterbacks in the J-Bird/J-Gun alignment.

Blanket scored more than 50 points in six of its 11 games last season. Defensively last year, the Tigers held four opponents to eight or fewer points.

Day, who averaged seven tackles per game, returns at middle linebacker, where he can use his quickness to survey the entire field. Rodgers, who averaged eight tackles per game last year, and Wheeler provide plenty of size as defensive ends. Top nose guard candidates are sophomore Adam McLaughlin (5-8, 210) and junior Weston Smith.

Vazquez and Varner are penciled in for outside linebacker spots. Yeats will fill a utility role and play wherever needed.

“I got here at the end of June, and we had a good turnout for summer workouts,” Mund said. “I like seeing how hard these kids work.”

Mund grew up in Wall and graduated from Angelo State University. In his first year after college, he signed on to be the ag teacher at Star, a small school located 15 miles east of Goldthwaite that no longer is open.

“After one game, something happened and the football coach left,” Mund said. “I ended up coaching the football team that season. I hadn’t been around six-man football much at that time, but I fell in love with it.”

2021 Blanket football schedule

Date                Opponent                               Time

Aug. 27           Gorman                                   7:30 p.m.

Sept. 3             at Gustine                                7:30 p.m.

Sept. 10           Lingleville                              7:30 p.m.

Sept. 17           at Zephyr                                 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24           at Gholson                               7:30 p.m.

Oct. 1              Evant                                       7:30 p.m.

Oct. 8              Rising Star*                            7:30 p.m.

Oct. 15            Open

Oct. 22            at Sidney*                               7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29            Brookesmith*                         7:30 p.m.

Nov. 5             at Panther Creek*                   7:30 p.m.

*District 15-1A Division II games