In 2011, Lampasas celebrated its first district championship in 22 years. The Badgers do not intend to wait as long for their next title.
Despite having a target on its back, working with a depleted roster, particularly on offense, losing its head coach and seeing its district improved through realignment, Lampasas enters the season determined to replicate the success from a year ago.
“There is always going to be pressure when you are coming off a district championship,” defensive lineman Cody Crofoot said. “You are expected to win more, you are expected to repeat, and it is just pressure.
“But we are trying to exceed the expectations.”
While the program as a whole has complete faith it will remain competitive, the combination of circumstances leads some to believe the Badgers will regress in 2012.
In addition to dealing with the departure of head coach Joey McQueen, Lampasas lost 30 seniors and nine offensive starters, including unanimous District 25-3A MVP Brandon Scott and co-offensive player of the year Secody Howard, from its championship team, and only five first and second team selections remain from the 16 who landed on the list last year.
“We no longer have a Brandon or a Secody or a Tanner (Swinford),” first-year head coach Jimmy Randolph said. “This year, we have got a John Cole (Vann), and we’ve got a Cody, and we’ve got a Josh (Barbero), and it is their turn to step up and lead us like those kids did last year.”
Although the personnel will be different, the philosophy will remain relatively similar.
“There is not a lot of change going to happen,” said Randolph, who was defensive coordinator under McQueen. “We are going to tweak it a little, but it is going to be 90 percent slot-T stuff.”
Behind an inexperienced offensive line, senior quarterback Kleg Kennedy, who has never started a varsity game under center, and junior running backs Avery Gary, Steven Jazdyk and Cody Jandreau must quickly adapt to varsity-level competition as they will each be expected to help replace some of the offensive production lost with the graduation of four 1,000-yard rushers.
The defensive transition should be much smoother for the Badgers with six starters returning, including 2011 all-district first-team member Crofoot.
While the Badgers are unified in the belief they will successfully defend their title, they know the process will be long and difficult.
“Our big thing over the summer was every time we broke out (of a huddle), we broke out ‘back to back,’” Kennedy said. “That’s our goal for this year.”