Heights is no stranger to success, with five consecutive postseason appearances, but has yet to take that next step. With a young group thrown into the fire last year, 12th-year head coach Stephen Dixon has the Bulldogs on the prowl once again.
The Bulldogs are hoping to build on a 2018 campaign that, despite a 4-7 overall mark, featured a three-game winning streak to end the regular season before falling to Cypress Creek in the first round of the UIL Class 6A playoffs.
“The season started to turn around for us as soon as we got healthy. I think that young team last year, losing those first four games messed with their psyche a little bit and made them feel like they weren’t as good as they were,” Dixon said. “I don’t think we initially responded well to adversity last season, but I think the kids going through that and finishing last year strong definitely bodes well for us.”
Complicating matters is that the Bulldogs lost both an offensive and defensive coordinator late in the offseason, according to Dixon. He will take over offensive play-calling duties heading into the Aug. 30 season opener against Spring Dekaney, while the defensive calls will be delegated to other assistants.
“You want to ask your kids how they feel about the system and if they maybe want to change some things up,” Dixon said. “When I approached them about it, they were all in. It makes it easier when you can talk to your kids about it as opposed to them keeping everything in. They were vocal about what they felt they could accomplish, and you’ve got to listen to them. It’s their team, and they’ve got to take ownership in it. You’re going to get more out of them that way.”
Multiple skill players return for an offense that averaged 29 points per game last season, such as senior tailback Torrin Polk (542 yards, 11 touchdowns) and junior Kendric Rhymes (78 yards, two touchdowns) along with senior receiver Tycorrian Bostick (55 yards, one touchdown), junior receiver Chris Smith and sophomore Stephon Johnson.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Tim Lavallais is primed for a strong season after leading the Bulldogs with 86 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss last year.
“I think it bodes well having some new coaches on staff and some new blood. They came in and hit the ground running,” Dixon said. “Kids aren’t going to play hard for a coach who comes in timid.”