Sulphur finding new normal
SULPHUR, Okla. (KXII) -Overcoming a loss is part of the game of football, but for the Sulphur Bulldogs, they suffered a loss that’s never in the game plan.
”It was devastating,” said Corey Cole, Sulphur Athletic Director. “He’s been around so long and he’s meant so much to all of us. He’s our coach.”
Head coach Jim Dixon passed away Sunday, September 11, two days after the Bulldogs beat their rival, the Davis Wolves.
”Really just didn’t feel real at first.” said senior linebacker, Ben McGill.
”He was the heart and soul of our football program and we definitely miss him,” said Quince Borders, senior offensive lineman.
”It was crushing, said Cole. “It really was.”
Dixon spent 48 years as Sulphur’s head coach, bringing home state titles in 2002 and 2004, racking up numerous wins, and touching a multitude of lives along the way.
”You learn a lot about yourself when you’re around coach Dixon,” said Cole. “You learn who you are and what you can be and what you can become.”
”Definitely effected us in a way that I never thought could be possible by teaching us how to work hard and keep your head up,” Borders said.
”The wins were never about him,” said Cole. “He would always say the loses were on me, the wins are kids and he truly meant that.”
Last Friday’s game against Whitesboro (TX) was canceled to give the Sulphur community time to morn, and serve as a reminder that somethings are bigger than football.
”Football is just a game that we love playing and coach Dixon loved coaching but it is just a game,” said Cole. “Coach Dixon meant so much more to us than that.”
There’s no getting back to normal after losing someone. The Bulldogs are having to find their “new normal.” A sideline without coach Dixon’s energy, guidance, and encouragement.
”Just his passion he had for the game,” said Cole. “Just his excitement that he had when leading us on the field. It’s going to be tough.”
”At first it kind of took a toll on us,” said Borders. “After that we just focused and started to play for a bigger cause than just football.”
”He’s always taught us just be tough and work through it,” said McGill. “We’re picking each other up, working really hard. We’re not trying to feel it but we’re holding each other accountable for him.”
”Coach Dixon, he wants you to be back out there, he wants to get you guys back out on the football field,” said Cole. “So, they’re excited, they’re hungry. They’re ready to out and perform again.”
This Friday, Sulphur will be under the lights for the first time since the loss of their longtime leader, taking on the Dickson Comets. The team hopes their efforts here would make him smile, like he did so often, both on and off the field.
”We can only control what we can control. What we can control is to go out everyday and honor coach Dixon’s legacy by preparing and practicing with purpose,” said Cole. “Doing the things that he’s always taught and prepared into us. I think the rest of this season’s going to be about our identity of coach Jim Dixon football and that’s hard nosed, gritty, tough. We want our opponent to know your fixing to be in a fight for 48 minutes.”
Sulphur will also be wearing tribute stickers for coach Dixon on the helmets the remainder of the season. The stickers were donated by coach Cody Fagan and Whitesboro football.
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