Hoping to play the Cinderella role in District 12-1A, DII, young Iredell Dragons focus on getting back into six-man postseason conversation
IREDELL – After seeing back-to-back season shut down early due to injuries and illnesses, just making it to the end of the 2021 season while playing a complete 10-game season proved to step in the right direction for the Iredell Dragons.
With the UIL realignment breaking up the all-Bosque County district, Iredell remains in District 12-1A, Division II with defending district champion Cranfills Gap and Walnut Springs, along with newcomer Bluff Dale. Although the Dragons will only have five returning lettermen who started both ways last season, Iredell has a strong group of underclassmen ready to add support.
“It’s not a big change in our district with Bluff Dale replacing Morgan,” Iredell head coach Luis Guereca said. “Although we will still be a young team, I do feel like we will be an improved team from the previous season. But the process of getting better each week will be our main priority. We look forward to competing in this district for the next two seasons.”
After winning three consecutive district titles and making back-to-back trips to the Class 1A, Division II, Region IV finals in 2017 and 2018, the Dragons continue to rebuild after suffering through three straight losing seasons.
Entering his 11th season as the Dragon head coach, Guereca led Iredell to six straight winning seasons culminating in three consecutive district titles from 2016-2018.
With the Dragons expected to be in the hunt at the state level again in 2019, injuries took their toll early forcing the team to shut down before district. Likewise, the 2020 season ended up feeling like a bit of déjà vu – and not in a good way.
Although Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine picking the Dragons to finish last in district, Iredell appears to be poised to surprise with seniors Preston Robinson, Jaime Najera and Chase Wilkerson will provide the leadership for a squad built around six freshmen, four sophomores and a junior.
“I believe our expectations are to continue to improve each week and give ourselves more opportunities to win,” Guereca said. “From the start, we have to understand that there is a process in reaching our main goal. As long as we commit and work hard, the season looks bright for us.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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