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Quitman BulldogsPublished October 27, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
Conference: 2A-4 East
Coach: Jeff Adams, 5th year at school
Assistant coach: Tim Hooten
2012-2013 record: 10-14 overall, 5-5 in conference play
Returning starters: The mood has changed a bit at Quitman, albeit for the better, and Adams likes what he sees because of it. The Bulldogs, like most teams this time of year, have quite a few players on the football team, so that hasn’t given the fifth-year coach an accurate assessment of his team so far. He’ll return three starters, including senior point guard Cutler Stewart, 5-foot-8, who last season showed that he can not only get others involved but can score as well. Junior forwards Ty Davis, 6-4, and Larry Poole, 6-4, are also back for the Bulldogs.
Best inside players: Davis and Pool are constants inside for the Bulldogs, but Adams is also looking for both Rodey Burford, 6-4, and junior Walker Johnson, 6-3, to shoulder some of the weight inside. “That’s one of the biggest things we’ll have this year,” Adams said. “We’ll have some height in OVERSET FOLLOWS:there, so hopefully we’ll be able to do something with it.”
Best outside players: Stewart’s scoring ability has improved, but sophomore Trevor Williams, 6-1, could make an immediate impact. “He’s going to be a good one,” Adams said. “He averaged about 20 points a game in junior high, so we think he’ll give us a lift.” Junior guard D.J. McVay, 5-11, will also be one of the Bulldogs’ top perimeter players.
How will you match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year?: Quitman will have some advantages going into games this season but will have to use them completely. Adams wants his team to play as a unit, which will give them a better chance to compete with the upper echelon teams in the conference.
Team strengths: Size will definitely be Quitman’s primary benefit this season, and Adams knows it. “We haven’t always had a lot of that here,” he said. “We usually have maybe one big kid and some smaller ones. But this year, we’ve got some guys with some size on them, and that’ll definitely help us out.”
Team weaknesses: The Bulldogs have not had a chance to develop any real chemistry yet because of some of the players’ obligations to football. That, in turn, may hurt them as they get ready to open up the season. “I’ve only got eight guys in here right now,” Adams said. “The rest are still on the football field, but they’ve been working really hard. We’ve just got to get some continuity once the football players come in.”
Games to watch: The Bulldogs’ season opener against White County Central on Nov. 11 will be the team’s first chance to test their cohesiveness.
Toughest opponent: Conway St. Joseph rolled to the league title a year ago and is again expected to be the class of the conference according to Adams. “They are always tough, always well- coached,” he said. “So it’s always going to be tough to beat those guys. We’re in a tough league, no question about it.” Conway St. Joseph, Western Yell County, Hector and Conway Christian all reached the state tournament last season.
College prospects: The Bulldogs don’t really have anyone that stands out on any college screens, but that can change if the team blossoms during conference play.
In a nutshell: Adams isn’t conceding the conference to Conway St. Joseph just yet because he feels his team will be able to compete against not only them but everyone else if they develop the cohesion that he wants. “We’ve got to be able to play together to have success,” he said. “We definitely think we can compete in conference, but we want to make a run at regionals, make it to state. But we’ve got to continue to work hard. If we do that, anything is possible.”