FORSAN — Quality, not quantity. That's what Forsan Head Football Coach Jason Phillips is working with this year as he prepares his team for another season in what is quickly becoming one of the most competitive Class A districts in the state — one which includes two-time defending state champion Stamford and Anson, who compiled a 10-2 record and finished with a top 10 ranking.
As for the Buffaloes, they earned a playoff berth in 2012, but were ousted in the bi-district round by Quanah. Phillips' goal is to take his team deeper into the postseason.
“First of all, our overall numbers are down,” Phillips said. “We have about 10 less kids than usual. We've been spoiled the last couple years. The kids we do have, we're extremely impressed with.”
Though confident, Phillips does have some adjustments to make. Most notably, the transition from a finesse game to more of a power game as size replaces speed on both sides of the ball.
“We don't have the speed we've had for the past couple of years,” Phillips explained. “Our offensive line is as good as its ever been. They average about 240-250 pounds. We will have a bit of a different look. We will also be using tight ends more, try to use our size to our advantage. We will try to control the line of scrimmage.”
Four players are currently vying for the quarterback position, according to Phillips. The Buffs lost veteran QB Marcus Cervantes to graduation and Polo Morin — who took some snaps last season — is dealing with an injury.
“I think we'll be OK,” Phillips said of his prospective field generals. “The goal is to have one starting quarterback by Week One — someone who is ready to go. All four candidates have worked extremely hard. They have been pushing each other and they all want the job. They all get along. It's a healthy competition.”
A run-based spread offense from the shotgun — with even more options on the passing side utilizing tight ends in addition to receivers is what Phillips is shooting for.
The element of diversity on the offense could aid the Buffaloes in scoring, but Phillips is equally excited about the defense.
“Our defense was really good last year,” Phillips said. “Ten-of-11 guys we have started on defense at some point last year. It's a good group of kids.”
Phillips is tasked with guiding his team through a guantlet of perennially strong and up-and-coming squads in District 4-1A, but Forsan — who finished with a 6-5 record in 2012 — has another roster filled with gritty athletes who are up for the challenge.
“It will be tough to win district, but that's our goal,” Phillips added. “We had two teams from the top five or six, it's going to be tough again. But I think if we can stay healthy and get our positions lined up and play good defense, we could be very effective.”