EMPIRE, Okla (KSWO) - In 2013, the Empire Bulldogs went a solid 9-3 and even won a playoff game. The two years that followed saw the team win a combined three games. Head coach Tony Roberts stepped down to focus on his athletic director duties.
The Bulldogs didn't have to look far for his replacement. Offensive coordinator Stefan Hunt was promoted to head coach. He has been trusted to build the team back into a winner for a tight knit community that loves their Bulldogs.
"Well obviously, a small school like Empire, everybody knows everybody. Being the head basketball coach and obviously the offensive coordinator the last few years, I've got and built a relationship with all of these kids. I treat every one of them like they're my own son. I show them the respect that I expect to get back from them. And I'm trying to make it like we're just one big family," Hunt said.
"It's been great. Since he's been here for four or five years, we don't have to get used to getting to know a new guy," said senior tight end Jacob Smith. "He has good chemistry with the team and we all really like him."
With the promotion, Barry Giles steps in as offensive coordinator. He has implemented a spread offense, focused around a power running attack. They hope this gives their young offensive line an advantage when they step onto the field.
"Usually when you think of three or four wide, you think of throwing the ball 40 or 50 times a game. Reality, we're going to run a lot of traps, a lot of counters, and some tosses out of the spread formation," Hunt said. "So it enables our kids to be aggressive on the offensive line. Since it's more of a running attack, the linemen know that most of the time the ball is going to be called dead four, five, six yards from the line of scrimmage. So they know immediately where they need to run to, rather wondering was it an incomplete pass, or was a pass completed."
"It's early in the season, but the more we play, the more we play together, the better we will get. I mean, it's all new to us, but we can get it down," said Smith.
The team will start their season in Week Zero at Cordell.