Yoemen open district with always-solid McGregor

When district realignment came out back in February, it was known that 10-3A was going to be taken up a notch in difficulty with the additions of some traditionally tough teams.  This week, the Yoemen (3-1) will be opening up 10-3A play by hosting one of those teams - the McGregor Bulldogs.  


McGregor comes into this game with a 2-2 record, but that could be somewhat deceiving based on the strength of schedule.  


"McGregor is 2-2, but they have played a pretty good schedule themselves," said Yoe head coach Tommy Brashear.  "They started out with Groesbeck and beat them pretty well, then they lost to Sunnyvale, which is a highly ranked 3A team.  They also lost to Mart who always has a good team and they have a good program over there."


Season results include a win at Groesbeck (43-29), losses to Sunnyvale (24-14) and Mart (28-21), followed up by a thrashing of Marlin (62-7) in week four.  Both Sunnyvale (3A DI) and Mart (2A DI) are ranked inside the top ten of their divisions.  


"Going into this district season, I thought McGregor was one of the more underrated teams and I still feel that way, especially after watching them on film," said Brashear.  "I would be really surprised if they were not a playoff team in our district.  We beat them in the playoffs last year in the first round and they had a young team and have a lot of those kids back."


McGregor was in Cameron's district from 2010-2013 before moving into more of a northern district the past two years.  Cameron has defeated McGregor in 2010 (45-7), 2011 (24-2), 2012 (24-14) and 2013 (55-13).  


The two also played in bi-district a season ago, with the Yoemen winning, 35-7. 




The Bulldogs will run a variety of formations, but at the end of the day will be multidimensional in their offensive attack.  


"They have the same offense they have always had," said Brashear.  "They are very multiple on offense.  They run a lot of shotgun, 1-back, 2-back, and they do a little bit of everything.  They like to spread out a lot as that is a big part of their passing game.  They are pretty balanced overall as they run the ball pretty well."


A total of eight starters on the offensive side of the ball return from last year's 5-6 bi-district finalist squad.  Headlining that group would be QB CJ McLeain, which threw for over 2,400 yards in 2015.  WR Andrew Taylor also returns after catching 12 touchdowns to go along with just under 1,400 yards.  


The Bulldogs averaged 34.9 points per ball game in 2015 and so far this year sits right at 35 points.  




Defense is where McGregor could hang their hat with all but one starter returning from last year.  


"They run the 3-4 on defense like us," said Brashear. "They like to bring a little more pressure. Sometimes it looks like a five-man front with two linebackers and sometimes it's a five-man front with one linebacker."


LB Alex Parsons, which was a second team all-state member a year ago, is the top defensive player to watch.  Parson had 121 tackles and 14 tackles for loss in his junior campaign.  


"Parsons may be the best defensive player in the entire district," said Brashear.  "He plays outside linebacker for them and will play some running back for them as well."


McGregor gave up just over 34 points per game last season but has cut that down to 22 through four games in 2016.  


Around 10-3A


In other district action, Franklin (4-0) will look to stay unbeaten at Troy (2-2), Academy (3-1) hosts a struggling Jarrell (1-3) team, and Rockdale (2-1) brings in a rebuilding Rogers (1-3) team.  


Kickoff for the district opener from Yoe Field is set for 7:30 p.m.