Let’s meet the 2021 Austin Black Bears.
2020 Saw the Black Bears get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the third consecutive season. The team’s 8-3 record was their best since 2017, which might give Austin fans reason to be optimistic. But head coach Jeremy Perkins said this year’s team is completely different.
“It's a young team, we’re not experienced,” he said. “We returned two starters on offense and one on defense and one of those guys is injured right now and out indefinitely.”
For a team that lacks game experience, Perkins said each week's matchup will bring its own lessons -- ones that just can’t be taught at practice.
“We want this team to show up to get better week in and week out, day in, day out,” Perkins said. “It’s gonna be a learning process with them. They’re gonna have to take some of the lumps of learning as we go and grow every single time out.”
While the 2021 group may not be field-tested, the Black Bears have been on a great run -- posting winning records and making the playoffs each of the last six seasons. So it’s only right for players like Tra Stover to be confident.
“10-0, 14-0, state championship,” Stover confidently said of his expectations.
We’ll see how the young squad does when they kick off their season against Hartselle on Aug. 20.