Bismarck: Lions aim to crack top 4 in 5-3A

Things finally started to click for Bismarck in 2010. The Lions posted a 4-6 regular season record and did something they hadn’t done since restarting the program in 2006.

“We made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years,” coach Jeff McBride said. “Kids started buying into the system. We felt that our kids played hard every game no matter the competition level. We competed well in the playoffs and set several new passing records as well as other individual records.”

The Lions return six starters on both offense and defense. Senior Miguel Garcia (5-11, 165) returns as Bismarck’s top all-around player. As a junior, the tailback rushed for 720 yards, pulled in 221 receiving yards and compiled a total of 710 return yards. He scored a total of 14 touchdowns, including three punt returns.

From his safety position, Garcia picked off three passes and returned one for a touchdown.

“Garcia is very athletic and can definitely play the game,” McBride said.

Junior Aspen Yarbrough (5-9, 230) will continue to open up holes for Garcia and Co. from his right guard position.

“Yarbrough is very intense and aggressive,” McBride said. “He will make a great lineman.”

Chris Weatherford (6-1, 195) returns as the Lions’ top defensive starter. The senior is a three-year starter at linebacker.

“Weatherford has a great eye for the ball and attacking style at linebacker,” McBride said. “Defensively we plan to be better tacklers and make fewer mistakes. Offensively we will keep the same Spread offense and plan to put more points on the board than we did last year.

“The 5-3A is probably as tough as it’s ever been. I think more teams will be closer matched than before. I still think the teams to beat are Jessieville, Glen Rose, Prescott and Fountain Lake. If that’s not a top four, I don’t know what one looks like.”