VALLIANT, Oklahoma (KTEN)- Valliant head coach Kim Nix’s players are certainly appreciative of his efforts as he heads into his third season at Valliant.

“Dude, it’s crazy how much you grow over a couple years just having the same coach," Valliant center/noseguard Hayzn Harmon said. "It’s more of a family now." 

But if the Bulldogs want to improve in the win column in 2023, it will take everyone. 

“Show up. Be committed," Harmon said. "Don't be the guy that’s not going to be there when somebody needs you.”

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they have a good foundation to build off of for their flexbone offense.

“Our line is bigger and it's faster than it has been," Nix said. "I think that’s going to be a real good compliment for us this year.”

And the line has quite the back running behind it in fullback Kenny Golston. He led the Bulldogs in rushing as a freshman last season.

“Kenny does a good job. Kenny works hard," Nix said. "That’s the big thing about it. Even though he’s a sophomore, he’s a leader on the team.”

But it won’t be solely on Golston to carry the Bulldog offense.

“We’ll be able to open it up a little bit with our passing game because you know, you pound it, pound it, pound it, and then boom, you hit a long one," Nix said. "That’s what we’re going to try.”

Valiant hasn’t made the playoffs in a non-COVID year since 2018, but it’s players are intent on snapping that drought this season.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort and a lot of attitude," Valliant quarterback/linebacker Dakota McDonald said. "Everybody just needs to do the right thing and we’ll be pretty close or we will go to the playoffs.

Valliant will open its season on August 25 when it hosts Marietta. The Bulldogs will be out for revenge as Marietta edged them 21-20 when the two met in the season opener last year.