MERKEL — If one checks the preseason prognostications for Texas high school football, the Merkel Badgers do not figure prominently in many of them. In fact, the Badgers are scarcely making a blip on the radar screen and have become a popular choice for last place.
And that, as far as second-year coach Will Kates is concerned, is just fine and dandy. You see, the Badgers were far more competitive than last year’s 4-6 record would indicate. They have 12 of 22 starters back from last year, including seven on the offensive side, their starting quarterback and a solid offensive line.
They’re also in the second year of Kates’ system, meaning more reps in practice (due to a lower need for instruction) and fewer mental mistakes on the field. The odds that they will field a better club than a year ago look promising, and only slight improvement last year would have resulted in a playoff berth.
Being underestimated, only fuels their fire.