If you are going to start the season, it’s always good to start against a familiar foe.

If you are going to start the season, it’s always good to start against a familiar foe. 

This is the case for the Sulphur Bulldogs and Madill Wildcats, as they will meet up in the 2019 season opener at 7 p.m. tonight at Calvin Agee Field in Sulphur. 

Sulphur and Madill have locked horns many times over the last twenty years, and the series has been highlighted by winning streaks by both schools.

Both Sulphur and Madill were in the same district from 2010 to 2015, with the Wildcats being victorious in the first four contests. 

Sulphur took the final two district contests, while Madill changed districts but the two continued on each other’s schedule. 

The Bulldogs have won all three of the non-district games (2016-18) which gives them a five game run.

Both teams are expecting a solid opening game Friday night at Agee Field where Sulphur has established some dominance in recent years. 

According to Madill head coach, Todd Vargas, his Wildcats will need to be at their best in order to spring an upset.

“Coach (Jim) Dixon has been at Sulphur a long time, and he and his teams have been very successful,” he said. 

“They have always been a physical team, and they like to run the power and the counter, and they’ll do it well. They always have good strengths along the offensive and defensive lines, and we will need to play disciplined football on both sides of the football.”

“We need to win in the trenches,” Vargas added. “We want to get our pads lower than their pads and drive through our blocks. We must stay down and hold our position along the front. Offensively we will do what we do best. 

“We like to run a triple option, and move down the field. But we cannot win if we turn the football over or we continue to get behind the chains. If we can establish our game plan and stay with it, I believe we have a good chance to come away with a win.”

Sulphur will be breaking in a new field house facility, a long-overdue building for a team consistently in the top ten and one that played in last year’s Class 3A Championship game. 

Dixon, however, will keep his focus on the field and what the Bulldogs must do to capture a victory.

“Madill had a young team last year, and they got much better later in the year,” Dixon said. 

“They have looked good in their scrimmages, and they have a solid group of seniors returning in key positions. They like to spread the field on offense. 

If they can isolate you one-on-one in the open field they can make a lot of yards quick. With the option they run, we must have someone covering the pitch man and someone on each of the running backs on every play. We’ll be tested, and that’s for sure.”

As in years past, the Bulldogs are hoping to rely heavily on a strong offensive line to open gaps for their strong running game.

“The strength of our team right now is our offensive line,” Dixon said. 

“We have some good people back from last year, and we will depend heavily on them, especially in the early part of the season.”

“We will be starting with some youth in some key positions. Hopefully our defense will come back strong and keep us close. It should be an excellent football game overall and a great way to start the season.”