Jacksonville Daily Progress
There's one thing about this season's Bullard Panther football schedule — it's far from ho-hum or being a collection of the the same-old schools.
The University Interscholastic League shook things up severely when February realignment tossed the Panthers into District 5-4A-II a.k.a. “The On The Road Again” conference that will have Bullard pitted against Canton, Gilmer, Melissa, Nevada Community and Emory Rains.
Let's start off with looking at the non-conference docket, where Bullard athletic director and head football coach, Shannon Wilson, put together an intriguing batch of opponents that should keep the first half of the season extremely interesting for Panther followers.
“We're facing quite a bit of lengthy travel in our new district,” Wilson explained. “So, I wanted to try to cut down on as much of the travel as possible in non-district while still scheduling the type of teams that I thought we should be playing.”
Two of Bullard's non-conference foes have never battled the Panthers on the gridiron, including Groesbeck's Goats, who are scheduled to trek to Panther Stadium for the season lid lifter on Aug. 29.
A week later the Panthers will make the short trip to Brownsboro to play a Bear team that went 2-8 a year ago.
Bullard and Brownsboro last met in 2011 when the Panthers blasted the Bears, 41-0.
On Sept. 12 the Panthers return home to face Edgewood, a team that won eight games in 2013.
The Cougars of China Spring and the Panthers will lock horns on Sept. 19 when the two schools meet in Corsicana (neutral site).
China Spring is in the Waco area.
Bullard has never faced China Spring in football.
Non-district play will come to a close on Sept. 26 as Bullard entertains White Oak's Roughnecks.
White Oak was a win away from playing for a state Class 2A championship a season ago.
The White Oak game will also serve as the Panthers' homecoming outing this fall.
“I think that we have a competitive schedule that should get us ready for district,” Wilson said. “There are some tough teams in there that should really test us.”
District play is slated to get under way on the tenth day of October — after the Panthers take Oct. 3 off for the bye week — when Wilson's boys head up to Rains.
The following week will find Bullard, once again, hitting the highway for a journey to Nevada to play the Community Braves.
The mighty Gilmer Buckeyes will provide the opposition for the district home opener on Oct. 24.
The Panthers' final road game of the regular season will occur on halloween night when Bullard visits Melissa.
On Nov. 7 the regular season will come to a halt as Canton is scheduled to test the Panthers in Bullard.
“Our district is definitely not what I expected it would be,” Wilson said. “I never thought Gilmer and Gladewater would be in different districts and I didn't see us going into a district where most of the teams are closer to the Metroplex than the traditional East Texas area.”
Panther Bites: Bullard will scrimmage at Wills Point on Aug. 16 and will host Jacksonville on Aug. 22...The exact game times will be released in August.