Team to Watch: Forsan Buffaloes

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For the first time since 2012, the Forsan Buffaloes are 4-0.

Considering all that they went through a season ago, that’s a feat worth taking a moment to soak in.

Last season, Forsan was seconds away from a district championship before heartbreak struck in the form of the Hawley Bearcats. Things were compounded by a first-round playoff exit.

Now you can hear the rumbling of the herd as the Buffaloes are on a rampage.

Like their namesake, the Buffaloes are powered by a strong running game. Four players have combined to put up 1105 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Quarterback Major Stockton leads the team with 387 yards and nine touchdowns.

“We like to call ourselves a power spread team. We throw the ball to set up the run,” Forsan Head Coach Jason Phillips said. “We’re kind of backwards from what everyone else is doing in the state. We’re physical up front and we got 4 or 5 guys that we try to give the ball to as much as possible. It’s a fun thing to call plays on Friday night for sure.”

Forsan has been playing with a chip on its shoulder all season, and it shows. The Buffaloes are beating opponents by an average of three touchdowns. The closest game was an 11-point victory over McCamey. Phillips has praised veteran leadership and experience as something that has smoothed out the bumps that could trip Forsan up. When there are those bad drives that happen, those qualities help the Buffaloes to reset quickly.

“They don’t want to be one play away from being district champion or one play from having a great record,” Phillips said. “They want to take care of business.”

That veteran leadership has come from a squad loaded with seniors; the Buffaloes returned 12 of their starters from last year. But Forsan continues to call on their younger players for help as their fourth leading rusher, Kevin Kligora, is just a sophomore.

“At the 2A level, this class is special and it’s something you don’t get too often,” Phillips said. “It’s a special group of young men and we’ve had some of the younger players fill out the holes we needed filled. Everyone is doing a great job all around.”

The Buffaloes play very unselfishly. In a rushing-first system, it is easy to try to be the star back. But for Forsan, its running backs don’t care who gets the most yards; they just want to score. Seniors Chris Mendez and Nate Hernandez are the respective two and three lead rushers on this team. But they really play for each other. They have been a duo since their sophomore year and have been supportive of each other the whole time.

“They celebrate no matter who scores the touchdown and are supportive of each other,” Phillips said. “It’s been that way for a while. It’s been awesome to see the maturation and their growth and how excited they get for one another.”

Since Forsan plays at the 2A level, its necessary for most players to play both offense and defense. As well as they play on offense, they are just effective on defense. This team has forced 12 turnovers on the season, with nine coming through fumbles and 3 interceptions. Major Stockton was highlighted as a player who was one of the best playing both ways. He has claimed 28 total tackles, a sack, an interception, and has helped cause fumbles.

With this 4-0 run, Forsan jumped into the top 10 of our Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 2A Division 1 rankings at No. 10. While Phillips is happy with the ranking as a milestone of the season, he tries to downplay it within his team.

“It’s an honor to be in the top ten now but at the end of the year we want to be one of the final teams playing,” he said. “We are proud but it’s still early in the season. We want to be there in the rankings at the end of the season.”

At the beginning of the season, Phillips and his players of set the goal of finishing non-district play 5-0. They are now only one game away from reaching that goal.

They’ll set a new goal once district 3-2A Division I starts, a district Phillips calls “one of the toughest districts in 2A, year in and year out.”

To finish the season well, Forsan needs to continue to keep that chip on their shoulder and never forget the feelings of defeat from last year.

“We just want to keep out goals in mind of what we want. I’m proud of our boys and our community,” Phillips said. “They are coming to watch really good football on Friday nights.”

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