Jourdanton debuts at no. 10 in preseason rankings

Jourdanton QB Cole Andrus dives for the pylon against Lytle in 2019. Andrus is one of 13 starters returning for the Indians in 2020. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The Jourdanton Indians will open the season as a state-ranked team.

The Tribe (10-2 in 2019) debuted at no. 10 in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football/Associated Press preseason rankings for Class 3A, Division I, which were released on Thursday, June 11.

It may not dictate the outcome of the 2020 season, but it sure is reason enough for Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darrell Andrus to get excited. It’s also cause for the Indians to ratchet up their work leading into fall camp.

“I think it’s definitely a credit to our coaches and the kids,” Andrus said. “I think, especially at the high school level, it reflects on the season you had the year before and obviously the amount of kids you have coming back as far as starters and seniors. I think our seniors last year really solidified us being a team to get recognized like this in the preseason. But, as a Head Coach, I’ve had teams ranked like this in the preseason.

“Pretty much every coach will tell you what I’m about to say, … it doesn’t win you any games in 2020. I think the

Jourdanton’s Payton Gonzales returns a kickoff against Karnes City. Gonzales is one of eight returning starters on the Indians’ defense from last year. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

excitement, the work that these young men have put in to get the recognition in the preseason is recognizable and I’m proud of them for that. But I hope it does not form any complacency, you know the old saying of getting a big head and thinking you don’t have to earn it. … It’s something to be proud of, but it’s something I hope makes us work even harder.”

The Indians debuted at no. 23 in last year’s preseason rankings.

Following a year that saw them fall to no. 8 Hallettsville in the Area Round, Andrus and the Indians return 13 total starters (five offensive, eight defensive) and a handful of players that saw significant time on the field in 2019. Andrus feels that experience can go a long way in 2020.

“We definitely have the mix … of players who have played a lot of varsity snaps for the Indians,” Andrus said. “We’ll have eight kids who are four-year lettermen out of our senior class. They’ve played since their freshman year on varsity. I think that’s why you see some of the preseason accolades there. They haven’t played their senior year yet. So, that’s the biggest point I’ll make to them.”

Jourdanton’s Aidan Borth (24) looks ahead to escape a tackle against San Diego in their Bi-District win in 2019. JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Their senior year will come with its fair share of tests. Jourdanton, who was aligned in District 14-3A DI in February’s realignment, faces six playoff teams from 2019 and their opponents’ combined record in 2019 was 57-52.

They open the season at home against Natalia and Corpus Christi Calallen in the first two weeks. Natalia (3A-DII) went to the Area Round in 3A DI while Calallen (4A-DI) fell to Boerne Champion in the 5A-DII Region IV final. In addition to those non-district games, Jourdanton will face off with cross-county rival Pleasanton (4A-DI) on the road and Eagle Pass Winn (5A-DI) at home in the following two weeks.

The hope is that gauntlet will prepare the Indians to make a deep playoff run and hopefully stake their claim as a state power in 3A-DI.

“You don’t get opportunities like this. It’s hard to get opportunities like that in the preseason,” Andrus said. “Us and Natalia have had sold out games the last two years. … I know everyone is looking at Calallen and Pleasanton and that back-to-back stretch there with the rivalry with Pleasanton. These kids all know each other and they’re five minutes apart and it’s on their new field. Those first three games, if everything is back to normal [regarding social distancing], we’ll see a playoff atmosphere and then some for our program. To me, you can’t simulate that without  putting your kids totally in that position.”

Here is the full list of the preseason Top 10 from Dave Campbell’s Texas Football and the Associated Press:

Class 3A DI (W-L 2019)

  1. Brock (12-3)
  2. Grandview (15-1)
  3. Pottsboro (15-1)
  4. Malakoff (11-2)
  5. Wall (12-1)
  6. Gladewater (10-4)
  7. Rockdale (8-3)
  8. Hallettsville (11-3)
  9. Troy (12-2)
  10. Jourdanton (10-2)

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