MAUD, Texas – Some say go to East Texas if you want to see some fast high school football teams. That’s only true for some schools, and Maud is not necessarily one of them.
Third-yead coach Allen Cross claims his Cardinals have average team speed, but they’ve got enough to be picked first in District 10-2A Division II. Prognosticators appear convinced the return of 20 lettermen and 15 total starters is reason enough to pick Maud.
“We don’t have Tenaha or Clarksville-type speed,” said Cross, whose Cardinals finished strong in 2017, and won their bi-district playoff game. “Being a favorite is a compliment to our program. I guess we’ve got a target on our back. We lost some talented kids to graduation, including our quarterback (Gage Jones). Still, I think we’ll get off to a fast strong, and finish strong.”
Cross will have the Cardinals lining up different on offense this fall. There will be no more shotgun, Maud is converting to the Wing-T.
Junior Payton Windham is Jones’ replacement, and Rayne Bailey will be the featured back. Ryan Griffin has moved from receiver to running back, and freshman Tucker Sanders will also be in the backfield. They will be supported by a big offensive line, which features 300-pounder Skyler Pate, Chance Sprague, Thomas Daniels and Brock Foster.
“Windham played fullback and linebacker for us last year,” Cross said. “He’s a smart, hard-working kid, and a leader. Bailey is a hard-nose, old school type of player. We believe Sanders and Griffin will compliment the others.”
Maud will throw from the Wing-T
The Cardinals may not throw as much in 2018, but Cross is confident Windham and his targets will be successful when they do air it out.
“Even though we’re going to the Wing-T, I’ve got background throwing the ball,” Maud’s coach said. “If we need to throw the ball, I think we can. I don’t want to lose a game because we can’t throw the ball.”
A lot of the same players will be starting on defense, not unusual in Class 2A. The Cardinals don’t have a lot of seniors, but Cross is excited by the fact he’s got 14-15 players in the junior class. Maud also has a big freshman class.
Cross is hoping those two big classes will enable the Cardinals to have a junior varsity team.
Everyone is expected to be a strong challenge in 10-2A, Detroit returns 20 starters, while James Bowie has 15 back.
“Having James Bowie back in district makes that game a lot more important than the past few meetings,” Cross said. “They’ve got a big senior class this year, and Eddy May is back at the helm. Geographically, our district is sort of near, with us located in the middle. There’s Overton and Mount Enterprise to the south, with Clarksville and Detroit to the west.”