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Bulldogs hungry for deep run in the playoffs

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

It’s not often someone is in one place for nearly a half of century, but don’t tell that to Jim Dixon who’s entering his 48th season with the Sulphur High School football team and his 46th as head coach.  

“It’s a little abnormal, it’s rare,” Dixon said. “I didn’t think I would. I grew up in Marlow, and I came over here with coach Nelson who was the head coach at Marlow. I figured he would be the head coach forever and I would just be the assistant, but after two years he moved, and they moved me up. So I’ve been here ever since.” 

The rest is history as Dixon has racked up wins and remained on the sidelines for the Bulldogs.  

And that won’t change any time soon. 

“As long as I’m healthy, I’m going to keep coaching because that’s all I enjoy doing,” Dixon said. “I retired from being a principal about 10 years ago. All I’m doing now is coaching.” 

Sulphur welcomes the stability and looks to bounce back in 2020 after an early exit in the playoffs.  

“We had a pretty good season, but we got beat out in the first round,” Dixon said of 2019. “The year before that we got beat in the finals. I thought we played two pretty bad games last year. But even when we got beat in the finals, we played two bad games that year. So we just have to be consistent.” 

That usually starts at quarterback and a pair of Bulldogs are still battling to be the starter. 

“Nobody is (guaranteed the starting role) — they have to earn what they get,” Dixon said. “Last year TJ Todd, he’s going to be a senior, was hurt when we started out and he missed about the first four weeks of practice. But Reese Ratchford did a really good job. And to be honest with you, we need both of them to play defense. They may be taking turns in there. I don’t know. We’ll see.” 

And as far as overall numbers, Dixon said there are “enough seniors,” but most of the athletes are juniors.  

“We have quite a few kids back who played (last season),” Dixon said. “We lost some pretty good players, but we got most of them back.” 

Two of those will be seniors Sage Borders and Garrett Trett, who are entering their third year as starters on the offensive line. Their contributions will be important as Dixon’s outlook hasn’t changed even in his 46th season at the helm. 

“Our expectations are high, they are every year,” he said. “You get out of something what you put into it. It’s as simple as that.” 

Sulphur opens the 2020 campaign on the road against Tuttle at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. 

“Tuttle is probably ranked in the top four in 4A,” Dixon said. “They won (a state title) in 4A the year before last. They’re good, they’re always good. They have some tradition.”