2-A-DAYS: Axtell Longhorns

AXTELL, Texas (KWTX) With a new head coach and plenty of talent returning, Axtell is hoping to finish near or at the top of district 8-2A.

But the talent they have doesn't have a lot of starting experience. Rusty Reynolds will have four starters returning on each side of the ball as he goes into his first year as head coach. He was the offensive and defensive coordinator in previous years, but now oversees the football team after Eric Blenden's departure.

"We had a few kids come out that had not played previously," Reynolds said. "That helped us a lot that were determining factors in our team last year. That was a competitive team last year, and that was our goal, to make the playoffs and kind of bounce back from where we've been. We did that. Now we need to carry that on and overcome the loss of those seniors."

Axtell will have its hands full with defending district champs Bosqueville, as well as teams like Riesel and Bruceville-Eddy, but they've been doubted before.

"I think we did better than what we expected to be," junior running back Trevor Benner said. "It was our second year in running the offense. People were really doubting us. We got to playoffs and the first round and I think that was better than what people expected."

"We had a lot of new guys that we expected to perform for us that hadn't played for many years, but were athletes," junior quarterback Koby Hollingsworth said. "We had a lot more numbers than the year before. We expected a pretty good season, and that's what we did."

Axtell begins the season next Thursday at home against Dawson.