Wins have been hard to come by the last couple of years for fourth-year coach Earl Brown II and his Burke Bulldogs. After making the playoffs his first season, Burke won only two games in 2012 and went 0-10 in 2013.
2013: 0-10, 0-7 in Region 6-AA
Coach: Earl Brown II (fourth season)
Returning starters: 15 (7 offense, 8 defense)
Players to watch: WB Bruce Mitchell, QB/LB Darrell Harley, OT/DT Kobe Brown, HB/LB Xavier Harley
This year the Bulldogs will be competing in Region 6-A instead of competing on the Class AA level. And that should make Burke more competitive, said Brown, who was a Burke football player in the mid-1990s.
"We will have a more experienced team this year," Brown said. "We basically had a JV team playing a varsity schedule. Eighty-five percent of my roster was 9th and 10th graders. We lost five seniors.
"And dropping down in classification is definitely going to help. We're going to be playing teams that look like us. By that I mean our 160, 175-pound defensive tackle may be going up against an offensive tackle that weighs 180 or 190 instead of 240 or 250."
Brown said he had 27 players signed up to play this year. He said many of the athletes at Burke are focused on playing basketball and it is a battle to get students to understand there are more opportunities in football.
"In the game of football, there's a position for everybody. If you can make a play, (coaches) can find a position for you. I'm trying to get kids to realize that and they're starting to come around and realized (college basketball) teams don't need a 5-9, 5-10 power forward."