Some people might be surprised by the Highland Bulldogs’ success this season, but not Mascoutah coach Scott Battas.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 this season after going 0-9 last season.
“If you knew anything about them last year, you knew they were missing a few key pieces,’’ said Battas, whose squad plays the Bulldogs on Friday in Highland. “The 3-0 start surprises some people, but I knew Jimmy (Warnecke) would have them competitive pretty quickly. I am not shocked, and I knew going into the season that when we got to Week 4, we were going to have our hands full.’’
Warnecke said the Bulldogs are enjoying the benefits of winning, while stressing staying humble.
“When you’re a kid, winning is contagious,’’ Warnecke said. “It’s fun. We talk about being humble and working hard. That’s kind of our motto. Those kids know they are being noticed a little bit and talked about a little bit. You go 0-9 and you come back 3-0, you’re going to get some attention.’’
The biggest key to the Bulldogs’ success is their mammoth offensive line.
“I like our boys up front,’’ Warnecke said. “It’s not just their size, but the way they go about things. It’s the serious nature with which they do individual practice. That’s my most fun part of the day, spending time with the O-line and my D-line. I’ve been a quarterback all of my life, but I’ve dedicated myself to those guys from the start.’’
The Bulldogs have only one senior — left guard Tyler Zappia — on the offensive line.
Here’s Battas talking about the Bulldogs:
“I think they play pretty solid defensively. They’re not going to take a whole lot of risks so they’re in good position a lot of times. We’re really going to have be creative to get the ball into space. They don’t give you a lot of space to put it.
“Certainly their size gives us a challenge, but playing Althoff last week, I think we’ll be prepared. There is a lot of similarities there in terms of the physicalness of both teams. Our kids will be ready and we’ll put a plan together to try and overcome some of that, and we’ll see what happens.’’
Here’s Warnecke on the Indians:
“Very strong opponent, and I think they are going to be even stronger next year, as will we. I like their quarterback (Zach Lindsay) a lot. He’s a solid ballplayer. The game has slowed down for him. I can tell that from his general demeanor in the pocket and how he handles the pass rush and keeps his eyes up field. He’s legit. He’s a solid, solid quarterback. We’re going to have our hands full with that.
“Their D-line, I’m really impressed by them. I think the best way to describe their defense is athletic. They’re athletic and they get to the ball. They have 11 guys who want to be out there and want to play football. They play inspiring defense.’’
— Steve Korte