SAN ANTONIO — For the second straight season, the Judson Rockets were bounced by Lake Travis in the playoffs in 2018. That sour taste remains entering the 2019 campaign, where a lot has changed in the off-season.
First, former head coach Sean McAuliffe left for Cy Ranch (Houston) after five seasons at Rutledge Stadium. Offensive coordinator Rodney Williams has since been promoted with the interim tag for the upcoming year. Williams has been with Judson since 2012 and is also a trailblazer, becoming the school's first black head coach.
Williams understands the Judson tradition and he's ready to lead this group to bigger and better outcomes.
"I want them to understand it's a long season and I want them to persevere and overcome all situations," he said. "We have some answers we got to have on different parts of the team, but so far, the effort has been there."
A lot of those questions come from the defensive side of the ball. That unit not only lost 5-star talent DeMarvin Leal to Texas A&M, but only one starter returns from 2018.
As for the offense, expect a lot of points. Williams added some experience on the offensive line and the seven returning starters are led by the reigning district offensive player of the year, quarterback Mike Chandler II.
"You saw how explosive we were last year, so you can only expect more," said Chandler, who accounted for 38 touchdowns last season. "I don't think the bar has dropped. We still want to go as far as we can and win state."
Senior wide receiver Amarea Bailey said, "Nothing has really changed. We have the same offense, same receivers and same running backs (minus UTSA freshman Sincere McCormick). Chandler is great. He's probably one of the best quarterbacks I've seen."
Judson begins the season against Clear Springs on Aug. 31.