QUITMAN: Senior-laden Bulldogs ascending 5-2A

Conference: 5-2A
Coach: Brian Narretto
’15 Record: 5-6

After only four wins in the previous two seasons, the Quitman Bulldogs won five games in 2015, which was good enough to punch the school’s third trip to the playoffs in its young history.

“Our defining moment came in Week 4 at home against Bigelow,” said first-year head coach Brian Narretto. “It was the first conference game of the season for us, and we had never beaten Bigelow in a senior high football game. We got out to an early lead and held on late for a narrow win.”

Narretto takes over as head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Senior tight end and defensive back Dylon Sipes.

Trey McGhee — a two-time 501 Football Team honoree — returns at quarterback. The senior is a three-year starter who passed for 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 1,037 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall. Senior Michael Lewis returns at running back after racking up 456 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns as a junior. Seniors Braxton Varvil and Nathan Henderson and junior Garrett Kennedy lead the receiving corps. Senior Dylon Sipes (three touchdown receptions in 2015) is back at tight end. Abi Quiroz (left tackle), Wyatt Varvil (left guard), Tyler Steely (center), Darian Boyce (right guard) and Sonny Heaver (right tackle) project as starters on the offensive line.

Senior lineman Abi Quiroz.

Sophomore Karson Lowe (end), junior Hayden Gadberry (nose tackle/46 tackles in 2015) and junior Dillon Davis (end) serve on the front line of defense. Seniors Tyler Stracener (90 tackles) and Logan Lowe hold down the outside linebacker spots, and seniors Eli Peck (103 tackles) and Lewis start at the inside linebacker positions. Henderson (55 tackles), Kennedy (55 tackles and two interceptions), Sipes (42 tackles) and junior Reese Gines fill out the defensive secondary.

Senior quarterback Trey McGhee.

“Expectations are running high for the 2016 football season here at Quitman High School,” Narretto said. “We have playmakers on both sides of the football. We have a lot of expected returning starters on both sides of the football — guys who have had a lot of experience at their respective positions. We have been able to move a couple guys around and put them in positions that fit them better, which in turn should make us a better football team.

“Experience is a strength for us. Nothing is better than game reps. Depth is a weakness for us. We have 26 guys on the roster. It is more than we had the past couple seasons, but it is still not quite where we would like to be numbers wise for depth purposes.

“The 5-2A is on the rise. It has a good chance of being the best 2A conference in the state. England and Conway Christian made it to the semifinals in 2015, and another team made it to the quarterfinals. We are motivated by the challenges that our conference presents each Friday night. It will be exciting for us to see how it all plays out.”