History made, Bullard eyes another win

Bullard quarterback Colton Mebane has led the Panthers to a 4-1 start this season. (Jaime R. Carrero | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

BULLARD — Colton Mebane knew he had a good night rushing the ball last Friday against Huntington, but even he was a little taken aback when told the final stats:

A career-best 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Not bad for a spread quarterback.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know I had that many, but we really didn’t have to throw,” the junior signal-caller said. “They were overloading the strong side and we just called a backside option and I kept keeping it.”

Mebane is enjoying his first season as a varsity quarterback for the Panthers after starting at safety last year as a sophomore. Through five games, Mebane has helped pilot the Panthers to a 4-1 record. The four wins are already the most Bullard has achieved in a season since going 6-4 in 2007.

“In our offense there is a lot put on the quarterback and he has gotten better and better each week,” Bullard coach Shannon Wilson said. “He’s a great competitor and he understands what we want to do offensively. He knows that he’s just one part of our team.”

Mebane has accounted for 907 yards of offense, half of it on the ground. The junior has carried 60 times for 443 yards and scored four touchdowns while also completing 41 of 62 passes for 464 yards and three scores.

“We’ve been running the ball a lot lately, but we also have the option to throw it or run. We are pretty versatile,” said Mebane, who also plays basketball, baseball and runs track at Bullard.

Mebane began playing quarterback for his fourth grade team, but when he reached varsity, was willing to watch and learn as a backup to Kirk Bryant, who earned second-team all district honors. When Mebane entered the game, it was for mop-up duty in either a blowout win or loss.

But Bryant’s graduation opened things up for Mebane, and he was more than ready to move from defense back to his accustomed spot under center.

His first game was on the road at Quitman, a team that had beaten Bullard 29-27 at home a year ago. Mebane and his mates never gave the Bulldogs a chance in a 50-6 win. Mebane threw a touchdown pass and had two scoring runs.

Bullard has won three of four since, and he believes the offense gets better each week.

“We’ve come a long way,” Mebane said. “At the beginning of the year, we were not really synched together and now we are finally picking it up.”

That brings Mebane and Co. to its toughest test of the season thus far in Tatum at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Panther Stadium in the ETFinalScore.com Game of the Week. 

Tatum (3-1) enters as the sixth-ranked team in Class 2A and sports a dynamic quarterback of its own in Jalen Overstreet. Last week in Tatum’s win over Pittsburgh, Overtstreet threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another.

On defense, Tatum forced Pittsburg into multiple turnovers, two of them interceptions. Mebane understands that the Eagles speed on defense poses a challenge.

“They are really athletic so we are really going to have to play smart, be smart with my reads and throws,” Mebane said.

Coach Wilson believes his junior quarterback will rise to the occasion.

“Our competition keeps getting tougher and tougher and I think it will be a fun atmosphere for him and I think he’ll do great,” Wilson said.

The strong start has Bullard envisioning a potential playoff berth, which would be its first since 1993. Mebane stressed he and his teammates have their eyes squarely on Tatum.

“We need to just keep working hard and stick to what the coaches are teaching us and good things will happen,” Mebane said. 

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