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By James McAfee
KNOX CITY—The Knox City Greyhounds have started a winning tradition in the past four seasons since Coach Caleb Callaway assumed the helm. Their first goal is always to win district and they have accomplished it all four seasons, winning the District 3-1ADI title outright three times (2017, 2018 and 2020) and finishing in a three-way tie the other year, failing to advance because of a tie-breaking system.
“Our goal coming into this season is that we want to go out and play our best football when we get to our district schedule,” Callaway said. “We want to keep the streak of district championships alive and look to make some noise in November and see what happens.”
Callaway says the team is younger than it has been, probably since he arrived, but he expected them to play big each week. “We will need to focus on getting better every day and in every game to prepare ourselves for our district schedule,” he added. “I feel if we can continue to grow weekly then we will give ourselves a chance at the end of the year to win a district championship.”
The Hounds have lost only one district game (Crowell) during the four seasons and are 38-18 under Callaway. Last season, the Greyhounds finished with a 7-3 record, scoring an 84-60 win over O’Donnell in bi-district before falling to Happy, 60-42, in the area round.
Texas Football Magazine didn’t think the Hounds could keep their streak alive, going on record and listing the Spur Bulldogs as the favorite in 3-1ADI because of a wealth of experience, especially in skill positions. Knox City was given the nod as the other playoff team, but Crowell will have a senior-heavy squad and Paducah could have one of the fastest teams in the state.
“I think we have to understand that every team in our district poses a threat to our goal of winning a district championship,” Callaway added. “We have always been the more experienced and more veteran team, but this year that isn’t the case. We are going to have to grow every day in order to achieve this goal. We know the bullseye is on us since we have been atop the district year in and year out. Every team in our district is looking to knock us off and we have to be prepared to defend our title.”
Callaway said the current squad will be very sophomore heavy, but these boys have lost one one game, giving them confidence they can compete against anybody. “The negative of that is how can we handle failure since it hasn’t been something we have gone through a lot,” he said. “This season is probably more about the mental side of football than it is about the physical, being able to handle the ups and the downs of a game and being able to handle a possbile early loss.”
The team’s schemes and plays don’t change from year to year. “That is one thing that I think really helps us,” Callaway said, “allowing us to keep our consistency with plays and defensive schemes so we are continually working to get better at these things.”
Callaway added that his upper classmen haven’t lost many games either with the success of our varsity the past few years and the current freshman group was the district runners-up last year in junior high and were a part of the two 9-0 campaigns when they were in sixth and seventh grades.
To prepare for district, Callaway has lined up another formidable non-district schedule that includes state-ranked Jayton, Motley County, May and Ira. “I find this to be important because we are able to see some areas we need to work on by playing teams that will expose your weaknesses. This gives us the opportunity to shore up areas that we struggle in.
“This schedule gets us battle tested for our district and hopefully playoff games in October and November. It will not only test us physically, but mentally weekly. Early in the season it isn’t always about the wins or the losses but about the learning and growing within our system and we know the first four weeks are going to for sure give us a view at where we are and what we need to work on in order to keep our district championship streak alive.