By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
There is something special brewing in the waterjugs of the Palmer football program.
And if you haven’t already jumped on the still-undefeated Bulldogs bandwagon, now is the time.
Palmer improved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in District 7-3A with a 41-16 dismantling of (5-2, 3-1) Edgewood in the KBEC Sports Game of the Week on Friday. The Bulldogs entered the game as the 10th-ranked team in the Dave Campbell’s Football 3A Division II poll.
“I thought a lot of guys played really well at different times,” Palmer head football coach Don Waddle told KBEC Sports. “We had big players step up and I thought our quarterback [Adrian Cisneros] played great. Really, it was a total team effort because that was a good football team. It was a good, physical game and different guys stepped up at all different times.”
The seven wins thus far match the Bulldogs win total from 2018 and are their most since an 8-3 record posted in 2014. That season — the first for Waddle — marks the lone eight-win campaign for the Bulldogs over the past 16 seasons.
And, with three games to play in the regular season against the three bottom dwellers in the district standings, the Bulldogs have an opportunity to make a little history.
Since 2004, the Palmer football program has recorded nine wins just twice in a season, finishing 9-2 in 2004 and 9-3 in 2007. The Bulldogs have not finished with fewer than two losses over that same span, nor have they recorded more than nine wins.
“The hard work of this senior class over the past four years, five years or six years, they have worked their butts off,” Waddle said. “The younger guys have followed their suit and when you have as many guys as we have that do everything right as far as working out and taking care of their bodies…I mean, summer workouts were fantastic and that has been the difference-maker in this program. The buy-in and making football fun has helped them understand the hard work that is needed to win now.”
As for Friday, senior quarterback Adrian Cisneros again led the way for the Bulldog offense.
Cisneros completed 14-of-his-21 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 11 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Dylan Tyree led all rushers with 16 carries for 114 yards and one score.
Carson Cisneros was on the receiving end of four of those passes and 76 yards from Adrian, which included two touchdown grabs. Ben Waddle (5-72), Tyree (2-35, TD), Mason Carvalho (2-14) and Gabe Bolden also pulled in passes for the Bulldogs.
Collin Graves and Carson Cisneros led the Palmer defense with 15 total tackles, while Damian Gonzales (13) and Marc Zagala (10) also recorded double-digit tackles during the win.
Gonzales, Zagala and Jhonny Arreola each registered a tackle-for-loss and Carvalho intercepted one Edgewood pass.
“We have to take the same thing from every game,” said Waddle on what the Bulldogs need to focus on ahead of week nine. “We watch the game film, celebrate the good things and fix the things that we have to in order to get better. That’s it. We have to work on the things that will help us get better.”
Palmer returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against (3-4, 1-3) Scurry-Rosser.
The Bulldogs will clinch a playoff berth with either a victory or a loss by (4-3, 2-2) Rice or (5-2, 2-2) Mildred.
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith