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Football season has officially kicked off for the Royse City Bulldogs and second-year coach and athletic director David Petroff was excited about his 2014 team.  

Petroff came from a football factory at what is now class 6A Midway High where the Panthers enjoyed a 57-10 record during Petroff’s tenure as the team’s defensive coordinator.

Petroff had only a few months at the Bulldog helm to meet, greet and get ready to compete. The quick change for the  Royse City football program contributed to a competitive first season under the young and successful coach. Even though the Bulldogs went 1-9, the atmosphere was uplifting and positive.

Royse City’s football program has been in the midst of several dramatic changes in the last 16 months. Not only did that include a new coach and coaching staff, but also a district change and change in classification.

Royse City is now in District 12-5A after February’s realignment and change in enrollment classifications, which for the first season ever, will include a Class 6A.

The new district includes Terrell, North Forney, Forney, West Mesquite, Mesquite Poteet, South Garland and Rockwall-Heath.  Non-district play will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 in Marshall, followed by a trip to Greenville before the Bulldogs play their first home game against Joshua on Sept. 12.

Royse City has come off of two grueling seasons with the Wylie schools, Sherman, Denison, McKinney North, Greenville and Lovejoy. That district competed well into the playoffs in 2013.

But make no mistake, although the road traveled will be shorter this season, it will not be any easier. At least three of this district’s teams are already showing up in the top 10 of several area polls.  

Petroff says he definitely respects the athletic prowess of this season’s competition. However, he does not shy away from thinking that his team could very well be in the hunt for a piece of the playoff picture as well.

The younger generation is also excited about becoming a Bulldog as this summer’s football camp numbers in K thru 6 increased from 30 in 2013 to 90 this season. Also the junior high camp increased from 35 to 85.

When asked what Petroff expected in 2014 he said, “We are going for one of those playoff spots. Even though some of this district’s teams are considered upper echelon teams, we still are going to focus on our goal of getting into the playoffs.

“We cannot expect to be bigger or faster than some of these teams, but we will outwork them. By outlasting them and by discipline is how we will win football games.”

Petroff will be looking for leaders to step up this season and said he believes he has those leaders on defense. In particular, Jake Wolov, Mark Calloway, Michael McKinney and Ibn Muhammid. On offense the Bulldogs will be expecting the talents of Chandler Dossett, Chance Selby, Courtland Vance and Ryan Stone to shine.  

Some players could be playing both ways like Muhammid and the underclassmen are really a bright point in the future of Bulldog football. Petroff mentioned Zack Maley, DeVonte Alexander, Brett Martinez and Sam Rosenstengle to be players to watch this season.  

“All of these players stuck to the program every day this summer and the results should show on the field,” said Petroff.

As for the future of Bulldog football, Petroff said, “We will continue to build a foundation. We will focus on toughness, work ethic and discipline. These things should bring consistency and if an influx of talent can continue then maybe we will be able to play for it all.”

The Bulldogs will spend this week continuing their preparation for the first scrimmage at Sulphur Springs on Aug. 22.

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