Diboll finds themselves in an unusual position after losing their head coach in June, which means they had to scramble to find a new leader for the 'Jacks. Fortunately, they didn't have to look far.
"Very excited about the new position," Head Coach Shane Adair said. "It's been a goal of mine for a long time. This will be my 17th year. Diboll has made us feel at home and we're real excited about the opportunity that they gave my family."
Adair replaces Tom Sheppard, who coached Diboll for three seasons. The Lumberjacks go into the 2011 season with the reputation of always making the playoffs, but never making it past the first round.
The 'Jacks look to change that mantra.
"I can say that Diboll is no one-and-out team this year," defensive end Jordan Lewis. "We've been working hard, boot camp put us through it."
Despite starting a whopping seven sophomores last year and going 5-6, Diboll made the playoffs again, losing to Athens in the first round.
"So we're still going to be young again," Adair said. "But they've got a year of experience underneath them. So we're gonna expect those kids to grow up as juniors. We only lost three on offense. We're expecting a lot of good things there."
Leading the offensive charge is senior Terrence Taylor. The 5-11, 205-pound running back rushed for 1,321 yards last year and scored 22 touchdowns. After this year he'll be running as a Cougar with the University of Houston. For now, he's focused on his senior year.
"They've gotten a lot better and everyone seems like they want the same thing, working for the same goal," Taylor said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lewis is a newcomer, having played offensive tackle last year. But Adair considers him to make an immediate impact.
"Jordan Lewis hasn't played much defense but he's come back in shape and worked hard this summer so we're expecting a lot of things from him," Adair said.
A leader on and off the field, Lewis keeps a close eye on his teammates.
"Out of school, I tell them to go to church," Lewis said. "Get good with God first. Tell them to go to class, don't be late. Show good sportsmanship."
Early predictions show Diboll to finish fourth this year in 18-3A, despite their playoffs appearance last year with a much more inexperienced crew. And the fact that Taylor is picked to win the conference's mvp award. But Adair isn't worried about predictions.
"We're just going to take it day-by-day and we're gonna line up on Friday nights and play hard," Adair said. "And the results will show that."
"Not really," Taylor said. "Just makes me want to work harder."
"It's different heart," Lewis said. "We got a lot of heart this year. Boot camp taught us a lot."
The 'Jacks open the season in Week 0 at home against Tatum. That's followed by a showdown at Corrigan, home games against Athens and Shepherd and road games with Hardin-Jefferson and Rusk.
After a bye week, Diboll travels to Center, hosts Huntington, then plays at Kirbyville before finishing the regular season at home against Jasper.
Adair has the Oct. 14 date circled on his calendar.
"Center," he said. "I got a brother that coaches there and they beat us two years in a row so we're kinda looking forward to that matchup again."
A high-pressure game for a coach facing plenty of pressure in his first year at the helm.
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