James Bruce

Hulbert's James Bruce goes up for a catch in a recent practice. The Riders open their 2019 season Friday at Hominy.

HULBERT -- The Hulbert football season opener is Friday against Hominy in Hominy at 7:30 p.m.

Riders' first-year head coach Scott Sapulpa is teaching the team new offensive concepts that will help add throwing plays to the run-heavy attacks utilized last year.

The defense is getting updated as well with Sapulpa bringing new ideas to what's a very inexperienced team that returns just one starter from a season ago. The new starters are in good spirits and learning the new plays quickly says Sapulpa.

The Riders had their first and only scrimmage game last Friday against Liberty, which they won 22-6. This helped the Riders offensively by giving them their first opportunity to run some of the new plays they were learning in practice. The defensive line was able to get live hits against someone besides their teammates as well. The scrimmage was a good team building experience for players on both sides of the ball and will help against Hominy.

The Bucks defeated Hulbert last year in Hulbert by a score of 58-41.

Sapulpa is positive about the team's progress from a preseason training standpoint and said that they may have a few late additions that may need a little more time, but the core players have picked up the new playbook pretty well.

When asked about team leaders, Sapulpa said they have a Commitment Gold Board that helps keep track of leaders like Jacob Beall, James Bruce, Johnathan Jones and Donnie Girdner.

"He's a positive guy with positive energy," Sapupla said of Beall. "Johnathan is doing a good job being a leader."

The Defense still has a ways to go before they get up to his expectations, but Sapulpa states, "I like a challenge," with only one starter returning from last year that is a good attitude.

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