Cross Plains has big goals for 2017 season
Evan Ren, Abilene Reporter-Newshttp://www.reporternews.com/story/sport ... 502696001/
In his six years of turning around a struggling program at Cross Plains, coach Daniel Purvis has had his eye on the year 2017 as a possible breakthrough season.
That may seem odd, considering the Buffaloes finished 8-4 last year, going two rounds deep in the playoffs – one of the best seasons ever for the program.
This year, however, Cross Plains is stocked with large senior and junior classes – a rarity at a school traditionally plagued by a numbers challenge. The numbers are so good, in fact, that the Buffs return 10 offensive and 10 defensive starters among 17 lettermen – numbers that most Class 2A programs never see.
“We’ve seen this coming for several years,” Purvis said. “We have two pretty good-sized classes back to back.
“Every year, it seems like we have one big class and one small class. But this group has been coming up for a while now with two big classes together and we’ve really felt like this could be our year coming up.”
Cross Plains will still have one key loss to replace – quarterback Holden Senclair – an all-Big Country quarterback/defensive back who graduated as one of the program’s top producers, both on the ground and through the air.
Running back Creed Goode (170 carries, 1,519 yards, 22 scores) has returned behind a veteran offensive line, so some compensation will be in place.
The defense should improve, with returning notables such as linebacker Kaiden Petree (41 tackles, 26 solos, 15 assists), defensive end Aaron Willis (47 tackles, 30 solos) and defensive end Tripp Thomas (39 tackles, 25 solos) all back.
“Where I expect the biggest improvement is defensively,” Purvis said. “We’ll have 10 starters back and a lot of those kids were sophomores last year. … So I’m anticipating our defense being a lot better.”
As for the schedule, the Cross Plains’ menu isn’t overwhelming.
There are, however, at least three telling games: First, a Week 3 matchup at De Leon which could serve as an early measuring stick. Second, a district opener on the road against archrival Baird on Oct. 13. And finally, a big road test against perennial area power Albany on Oct. 27.
CROSS PLAINS BUFFALOS
HEAD COACH: Daniel Purvis (31-34; all at Cross Plains)
LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 8-4; 4-1 in District 6-2A Div. II
LAST DISTRICT TITLE/PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 1994/2016
RETURNING LETTERMEN: 17
RETURNING OFF./DEF. STARTERS: 10/10
BASE OFFENSE: I-formation
BASE DEFENSE: Split
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Creed Goode, RB, 6-1, 165, Sr.; James Rhyne, OL, 5-11, 240, Sr.; Aaron Willis, DL, l6-1, 230, Sr.; Tripp Thomas, DL, 6-3, 220, Jr.; Kaiden Petree, LB, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Trent Potter, LB, 6-0, 210, Jr.; Bryce Petree, LB, 5-10, 165, Jr.; Joe Crockett, LB/DB, 5-6, 155, Sr.