So Denison moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2008 with a victory last week. As long as the Yellow Jackets keep winning, the “first time since” tag will go back to that 2008 campaign, since that group went undefeated in the regular season.
But just getting to say 3-0 is going to be a tough task since this week Denison welcomes Abilene Wylie to Munson Stadium.
Abilene Wylie is normally one of the stronger teams in its division and classification and provides a tough test. The Bulldogs come into this game ranked eighth in the Class 4A Associated Press statewide poll.
Last season Wylie made another deep playoff run and was the Class 4A Division I state runner-up with a 31-17 loss against Carthage to finish 12-2.
The year before the Bulldogs finished 12-3 and lost against Argyle, 24-17, in the last minute of the Class 4A Division I state semifinals. It was the second time they lost to Argyle in 2015. In 2009 Abilene Wylie was the state runner-up — a distinction also earned in 2000 — and in between those seasons won the then 3A Division I state championship in 2004. The Bulldogs also were state semifinalists in 1994.
In 2014 the team had another deep playoff run with a 10-3 record.
Last week Wylie picked up a 42-17 victory against Lubbock Monterey but may have lost its quarterback, Sam King, to an injury. He did not play in the second half. Cason Grant helped pick up the slack with 170 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries as the Bulldogs are 2-0 for the first time since 2012. Wylie was down early but held a 21-10 half-time lead. Bailey Hicks added a rushing TD and Lane Ross caught a 35-yard touchdown from King before his injury.
In the season-opener, the Bulldogs blew out Vernon, 45-6, by scoring on six of seven drives in the first half — five of them touchdowns. Grant had a pair of TD runs in the first quarter and King threw for 173 yards and four touchdowns, two of them by Gatlin Martin covering 30 and 65 yards.
The status of King will be the big factor entering this game. He earned the starting quarterback job going into the season and had a strong game and a half before the injury.
Grant is continuing his strong play from his junior year, when he was a first-team all-district selection. The team did have to replace Brooks Pepper, the district Most Valuable Player, and quarterback Zach Smith, the district Offensive Player of the Year.
Martin and Ross have filled in the void after Wylie lost a first-team all-district receiver and tight end.
On the offensive line, two first-team all-district selections (Zak Yazdani and Kade Parmelly) and a second-team pick (Kade Ancell) need to be replaced. Senior Connor Carlton was honorable mention all-district.
From a defensive standpoint, the unit has been better through two games overlast season’s same opponents. First-team all-district lineman Dion Novil graduated but the Bulldogs bring back Ryan Hamar, who was first-team all-district as a junior, and another first-team all-district pick in senior defensive end Anthony Guerrero.
The linebacking unit is almost entirely new with Pepper and a pair of first-team all-district choices (Braydon Ward and Trey Hooker) gone. Senior Josh Goodnature (which seems like a bad name for a defensive player) was honorable mention all-district last season.
In the secondary, a spot is open with the loss of Cameron Hanna but senior Wyatt Wink was named second-team all-district.
Wylie also has a new kicker after the graduation of first-team all-district selection Hanna.