Tioga to have new football coach

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat

Tioga is searching for a head football coach and athletic director for the first time in nearly a decade as Cody Patton will not return to lead the Bulldogs in those positions.

Patton, who was reassigned within the school district, helped Tioga transition from not having a football program for more than 60 years into the six-man ranks with success there before moving to the 11-man level three years ago.

He went 39-47 overall with five playoff appearances, including a streak of four straight which was snapped this past season. The Bulldogs finished 1-8 and went 0-5 in District 5-2A (I) after moving up in the latest realignment — the second straight realignment they were playing at a new classification or division.

The decision could also end up affecting the volleyball program as it is led by Mindy Patton, who has guided the Lady Bulldogs to the playoffs the last six seasons, including winning the Class 1A state championship in 2016 and reaching the region finals in 2015 and 2017 as well. This past season Tioga was third in the district standings and suffered an area-round loss against Bremond after winning its bi-district match over Italy.

Tioga did not have a football team from 1950-2012 but it was restarted when the Tioga ISD opened its high school in 2012 after having previously sent its high school level students to Gunter since 1961.

Patton was hired after serving as Holliday's head coach for the 2012 season and went 6-5. Before that he served as the Eagles' defensive coordinator since 2006.

The Bulldogs played as a independent six-man program in 2013 and went 4-5 before joining a district and making the playoffs in 2014. The team went 8-2 in 2015 but did not advance to the postseason as both losses came in district play.

Tioga was the District 15-1A (I) champ and reached the state quarterfinals with a 7-6 record in 2016 before putting together its best season under Patton in 2017 — an 11-2 record, district championship and a state semifinal appearance.

That would be the Bulldogs’ final season as a six-man outfit. The continued growth in Tioga moved them into Class 2A Division II for the next two seasons and the Bulldogs made the playoffs each year despite finishing 1-10 in 2018 and 3-7 in 2019.

Realignment moved Tioga up again, this time to 2A Division I in February and the Bulldogs ended 1-8 and last in the 5-2A (I) standings. The team’s only victory was a 39-8 win over Era in non-district play.

In three seasons as an 11-man program, the Bulldogs have gone 5-25.

There is a chance the program could make another jump in the next realignment. Tioga’s enrollment for the 2020-22 cycle was 187 students and the Class 3A Division II cutoff was 230 students.

In 2015 Tioga’s enrollment was 103 students and it jumped to 141 in 2017 before the 46-student increase in 2019. Another increase of that same number would give it 233 students and put the Bulldogs right on the cusp of moving up.