If you asked any person around the small town of Olney, Texas how their football team was a few years ago, there would be no positive things that come out of their mouths. You may get some words like “winless”, “awful”, and “laughable”. Now, however, the complete culture of the program is changing, and it all starts with their head coach returning to smash-mouth, old-school football.
Coach Jody Guy of the Olney Cubs is entering his fifth season and has completely turned this program around. From 2008 to 2019, the Cubs combined for just 13 wins. Thanks to a combination of coaching and experience from older players, Olney has thrown this track record out of the window. They have now made back-to-back playoff appearances and won their first playoff game since 2000 last season. This former free win for opponents has now transformed into legitimate playoff contenders in a record turnaround.
With 10 players coming back on each side of the ball, this year should be no different for the Cubs. Olney looks to be poised to make a powerful push in a division that is highlighted by state favorites such as #3 ranked Hawley and #4 ranked Cisco. A combination of their depth at the running back position and their flex bone, run-heavy offense is a major reason that this team is on the rise. Coach Guy commented on the experience of his team, as well as their district opponents, saying,
“By having the number of returners coming back, it makes for a smooth transition to summer and then to fall camp. These kids have the mindset that anything is possible. We are mostly juniors and seniors with only one sophomore on the varsity team. This makes our time very mature and able to handle different situations. We have two top 5 teams and another that is a perennial playoff team. Getting prepared to play this competition is going to be vital. If we are fortunate to make the playoffs, our district should prepare us for the playoff run that we want to make.”Jody Guy, HC
This depth and explosiveness have the Olney Cubs poised to make their deep push in a stacked district. The immaculate turnaround performed in Olney has many residents looking upon the team in a new light, but this season will be a proving time for the Cubs. Coach Guy had high praise for a multitude of his players coming into the year.
“A.B. Marquez is a Senior that had a season-ending injury early last season. He is back and playing with a vengeance. He plays linebacker and is the heart of our defense. Gatlin Guy is our QB and has been a varsity starter since his freshman year. Other kids like Peyton Valdez (OL) and Jovani Rockmore (RB) dedicated themselves this summer and were there every day. That time has paid off for those kids. They are physically bigger and stronger.”Jody Guy, HC
Here are some names primed for a breakout on the Olney Cubs squad this season:
Gatlin Guy is stepping into his third year at quarterback and is the returning leading rusher for the Cubs. He averaged 139 yards per game and found the end zone 20 times on the season. The 5’11’’ 250-pound Junior is a shifty runner who is hard to bring down in the open field. He makes smart decisions out of his option plays and uses his speed on the defensive side of the ball as well, accumulating 45 tackles and an interception last season.
A.B. Marquez is a high-energy linebacker who is coming back from an injury and can come out of the gates on fire. Marquez was the team’s leading tackler as a sophomore with 129 tackles, as well as forcing 3 fumbles. With Marquez being the leader on the defensive side of the ball, look for him to pick up where he left off before his injury.
Jovani Rockmore is the Senior RB lining up behind Guy in the backfield, a fierce downhill runner who totaled 971 yards and 13 touchdowns as a Junior last season. He is a big play threat, and standing at 6 feet tall, he is hard to bring down when he runs. His aggressive, smash-mouth running style is a great compliment to Guy’s shiftier package in the backfield.
Peyton Valdez is a monster on the offensive line. Coming in at 6’3’’ and 215-pounds, Valdez has an explosive first step and strong footwork that he uses to his full advantage in the trenches. His quick hands and steady legs do a great job of protecting the blind side of his quarterback. Valdez uses his size and strength to drive back the opposing line while staying aware enough to create holes in the run-heavy “flex bone” offense utilized by the Cubs.