A change in culture is what first-year head coach of the Anderson County Bulldogs football program Logan Pegram is expecting for 2019.
Pegram inherits a program this year that hasn’t had a winning regular season since 2015, when this year’s group of seniors were freshman, and have only recorded one playoff appearance in that time.
The Bulldogs have recorded a .185 winning percentage in the last 3 years, and Pegram noted that his student-athletes will have more expected of them not just on the field but in the classroom and in the community as well.
“Our biggest challenge (last season) was creating a positive culture where our athletes believed in one another. The ability to play together as a team is something we are working towards this upcoming year.” Said Pegram.
“The process is something that we must embrace. That comes from the coaching staff to the athletes and throughout our community.”
The Bulldogs return seven starters on offense and six on defense.
Returning, but moving to new positions, will be junior Bo Dilliner, who played at the wide receiver position last year, and senior Gavin Wolken, who started last year at quarterback and is now moving to be the team’s starting running back.
“I believe Bo Dilliner is poised for a big year. The kid is explosive. Wolken is tough and will be good at the running back spot.”
Junior Justin Stifter moves into the fullback position, and coach Pegram credited his work ethic this summer.
“(Justin) hasn’t missed a summer workout.”
Also returning will be senior tight end Bronson Sparks, tackle Dallas Higgenbotham, right guard Josh Stifter, and center Nick Lybarger.
The offensive line for the Bulldogs will have two sophomores and one junior but will average out close to 225 lbs.
Other skills players for the Bulldogs 2019 on offense will be sophomore running back Fisher Galey and senior wide receivers Tanner Spencer, who did not play last year, and Corbin Danner, who coach Pegram described as having the best summer of any athlete.
Higgenbotham, who was recognized last year as a 1st Team Defensive Lineman and Honorable Mention by the Topeka Capital, will double as a defensive tackle.
Sparks, Josh and Justin Stifter, Wolken, Dilliner will also pull double duty playing on both sides of the ball.
“I believe we have a very good team for this year. A good mix of speed and size. We have some older kids in key positions. Our ability to spread the ball around to multiple athletes will put us in a better position to be successful,” said coach Pegram.
The Bulldogs and their coaching staff recognize though that this isn’t just about the 2019 season and giving this group of seniors their first winning season, but it’s about laying down a foundation for future classes.
“We need to establish a culture that promotes winning on Friday’s. Throughout the week, we have to do the necessary things to put ourselves in the position to be successful. From the classroom to the practice field to game day. Everything we need to do to change our culture in a positive manner. If we can buy in as a team, we have the ability to be a better team.”
Anderson County will be tested right out of the gate when they play their first two games of the season on the road against Wellsville, who is also under the direction of a new head coach, and a speedy, track-and-field like Parsons Vikings team.
The Bulldogs will have three of the five district games at home but will have to travel to Prairie View and an improved Iola team.
“We will have to learn how to win on the fly. The ability to play together as a team is something we are working towards this upcoming year. Overall, if we can learn to do the little things right, we will have a great season.”
Visit the Anderson County Bulldogs Football team page on our website for results throughout the season.