The Jourdanton Indians know they have the potential to make the 2020 season a historic one for their school.
The Indians debuted in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football/Associated Press rankings as no. 10 in Class 3A Division I. DCTF went further and picked Jourdanton to win Region IV. They hope they can meet those expectations or even go further than that.
“Regional finals, [state] semifinals, maybe even a state championship, you never know,” senior linebacker Brett Berg said.
Though Athletic Director and Head Coach Darrell Andrus knows preseason accolades mean very little, he has seen a benefit to the hype around his program over the last couple of weeks before starting practice.
“I don’t even know if I’ve put it into words. I’m not trying to make light of the ranking or anything, but that really has nothing to do with [the season],” Andrus said. “We had a great last two weeks of summer strength camp where our numbers rebounded and really took off.”
But the hype is warranted for the Indians, who return 14 starters from last year’s 10-2 campaign that saw the tribe claim their first district championship since 2011.
Offensively, senior QB Cole Andrus returns for his final season behind center. He’ll have the likes of his favorite receiver, Jarel Lilly (950 yards, 11 TDs), back at receiver to go along with the rest of Jourdanton’s returning starters at skill positions.
However, the Indians are replacing their entire offensive line this year. Leadership from Andrus, Lilly and the rest of the veterans will be crucial for the progress of this team in 2020.
“We’re trying to be as [good of] leaders as we can to lead them in the right direction to show them what it takes to be a starting varsity [offensive] lineman in big games and high competition this year,” Cole Andrus said.
Defensively, the Indians lost standout defensive end Derek Jenschke, but they feel confident with Berg, senior cornerback Payton Gonzales, senior defensive back Colton Schuhart and senior defensive end Emmanuel Lugo returning to anchor their defense.
“I think our defense can be the best ever,” Berg said. “We have eight starters coming back and the [three] that were being replaced, they’re big positions to be replaced, but I’m sure that the guys coming up will definitely do their part.”
A tough schedule should also help shore up any holes the Indians could find along the way. Their non-district schedule includes Natalia, perennial state power and Class 4A DI no. 4-ranked Calallen, Pleasanton and late addition Canyon Lake in place of Class 5A Eagle Pass Winn.
Coach Andrus feels confident that schedule will help prepare his team for what could be the best season in program history.
“I think that’s the key ingredient to set up the furthest playoff run and the best season we’ve ever had, I really do,” Andrus said. “I think it’s got a chance to be anyways.”
For the players, being in those big games will hopefully help them reach their goals this season.
“We’re really excited,” Cole Andrus said. “We know all these games are going to make us even better, and prepare us for the playoffs and hopefully making a long run.”