Coming off its best season in almost a decade, the Sam Houston Broncos are looking to pick up where they left off.
Sam Houston hosted its first playoff game since 2010 and its eight wins was its best since an 11-3 season in 2003.
Sam Houston will play DeRidder on August 29th at 6:30 p.m. at the SPOT Jamboree at Sulphur High School and will open the regular season on the road at Washington-Marion on September 6th.
Here is a look at five Broncos to keep an eye on this season.
Senior l Quarterback
5-11, 180 pounds
NOTES: In his first full season as the starting quarterback last year, Bartley completed 133 of 226 passes for 1,916 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He helped lead the Broncos to an 8-3 season in 2018 and has thrown for more than 3,400 yards and 27 touchdowns in two seasons under center and should put up big numbers again as Sam Houston’s pivots to a more pass oriented offense.
FROM THE COACH: “He had a great summer with us,” Sam Houston head coach Chad Paulk said. “He has always been a knowledgeable quarterback and runs the show great.
“He is a great leader. We feel like with the preparation that he has had this summer and being a starter the last two years the sky is the limit for him. Without a doubt, he should throw for a lot of yards this year given that we are young at tailback and going more towards an air-raid offense. He fits perfectly in that position. He is going to have some targets to throw to which is big. He has (Luke) Yuhasz and Tavyen (Grice) to target and some other pretty good receivers around them.”
Sophomorel Wide receiver
6-4, 185 pounds
NOTES: Yuhasz had a solid freshman season as a back up to Bartley while completing over 80 percent of his passes (22 for 27) for 297 yards and two touchdowns, but Paulk has different plans for him this year. At 6-4, he will give Bartley a huge target in the Broncos’ new offense.
FROM THE COACH: “You think when you tell a quarterback that they have to switch positions that they would be concerned with that and be a bit defiant in the transition,” Paulk said. “Yuhasz just wants to play.
“He understands where our football program is right now and having Kyle. Kyle can’t necessarily play wide receiver but Yuhasz can. He understands he is another target for Bartley.”
Senior l Wide receiver
5-11, 160 pounds
NOTES: In his first season at Sam Houston, Grice became the Broncos’ go-to receiver, catching a team high 55 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns. He had three 100 yard games and earned 3-5A all-district first team and American Press All-Southwest honors. With the Broncos switch to a to a pass-heavy offense, Grice is poised for another big season.
FROM THE COACH: “Last year was Grice’s first year with our program, so up until about Week 6 or 7 he was still learning our offense and the program,” Paulk said. “This year — having that knowledge right off the bat and knowing the expectations, the way we play on the field — I feel like he is going to be able to eliminate some of that clutter and just focus on continuing to get better at his craft throughout the year and be the leader he really is.
“Grice is a quiet guy, but when he gets going he can lead. We are excited to see what he can do this year.”
Senior l Defensive lineman
6-5, 244 pounds
NOTES: After an injury cut his sophomore campaign short, Humphrey had a breakout season last year earned 3-5A all-district first team, American Press All-Southwest and LSWA Class 5A all-state honors. Humphrey was the anchor of the defense with 82 tackles, 14 1/2 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and recovered three. With Humphrey up front, Sam Houston’s defense improved from allowing 35.5 points and 427.2 yards per game in 2017 to 20.5 points and 305.2 yards last season. Humphrey will move from end to nose guard in the Broncos 3-4 defense.
FROM THE COACH: “He has size,” Paulk said. “He has tremendous talent and he is a big body upfront.
“He is going to play the nose this year, which is a transition from last year being a defensive end. Hopefully he will be able to take on some double-teams and crowd up that front a little bit more than it has in the past.”
Senior lDefensive lineman
5-8, 170 pounds
NOTES: 2019 will mark a huge change for Soileau, who will move from tailback to the defensive line. After rushing for 386 yards and three touchdowns in 2017, Soileau saw limited time in the backfield last season with 3-5A All-district MVP, All-Southwest and LSWA All-state honorable mention running back Gerron Duhon lighting up opposing defenses.
FROM THE COACH: “We have been looking at Soileau for quite some time as a tailback,” Paulk said. “He came here as a tailback, but sometimes it is just not the best fit for you although he would be a great tailback at certain places.
“We were fortunate to test him out at defensive line and the progress he has made through the spring and summer is amazing. He is going to be a tough one to block. I wouldn’t want to block him.”