Miles Ready to Prove Contender Status Against District Front Runner Menard
MILES, TX-- The Miles Bulldogs have already bested their record from 2017 with a 3-2 record through the first five games of the season.
That has a lot to do with first-year head coach Charles Boles.
When a new coach comes in, there's always a possibility that a team will experience a steep learning curve. Under Boles, that curve has been very, very minimal and the growth exponential.
Boles left Lindsay, where he posted a 49-20 record in six years, for Miles in March of 2018. When he got to the town on the western edge of Runnels County, the players bought in almost immediately.
"We threw in the offense with the two weeks we had with him last [school] year," said senior QB Jared Flores. "It went nice and smooth. Then two-a-days came and everything was uphill from there. We learned it fast and we're just working on little things we have to work on. But the offense has really progressed."
The Bulldogs are coming off their bye week and a statement win against state power Munday the week prior.
However, heading into a rivalry game with Menard (3-2), who they first played in 1938, Miles is staying level headed.
"We've gotta treat this game like any other game, to be honest with you. All of them are important right now," Boles said. "We've gotta prepare like guys going to work every day, just a workman-like mentality. We can't do anything special than what we've been doing all year long because we feel like we're getting better. So, we're not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything."
Boles that he felt his team's focus "has been really good this week." That could be because of the nature of the rivalry.
The two teams have played 30 times since 1938. Menard holds the all-time lead with a 21-9 record. Last year, the two teams met twice -- once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Menard won each contest.
"This is the game you live for playing high school football," said senior RB Mason Bryan. "It's a big rivalry game ... It's a hyped up game."
Prior to last year, Miles won four of the previous seven meetings.
While District 8-2A Division II has opened up more than anticipated, Menard is still favored to win the district crown. Miles hopes to prove they're a contender in their district opener.
The Bulldogs feel they can do that with Boles, who's Lindsay team beat Menard in the playoffs last season.
"It's very exciting," Flores said of Boles' history against Menard. "We should not have lost to them last year and we're not gonna lose to them this year. It's gonna be a good game. We're excited."
To get past Menard, the Bulldogs have to first stop the Yellowjackets' star running back Christian Salazar.
"The biggest thing -- I said this last year -- Menard is a very well-coached football team," Boles said. "I think Coach [Jayson] Wilhelm does a great job. His kids execute their gameplan and their style of football very well. They're very physical ... I think their execution is a little bit sharper this year than it was last year. They're a year older and a year better, so our work is cut out for us."
Run stopping is an area Miles is confident of with their defense.
"I feel good about [our run stopping]," Boles said. "I think our kids are really excited for the challenge. We know it's a kind of brawn on brawn mentality. So, I think it's a good matchup for us. We'll see how it goes Friday night, but I think it's a good matchup."
Miles and Menard are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kick off at Bulldog Stadium.