The Rolla Bulldogs are looking to improve from last year's 7-4 season where they fell in a Class 4 district semifinal to St. Francis Borgia from Washington.

The Rolla Bulldogs are looking to improve from last year's 7-4 season where they fell in a Class 4 district semifinal to St. Francis Borgia from Washington.

They are led by Head Coach Jon Franks who is 17-8 so far in his time with the Bulldogs. He is assisted by Joseph Schuchardt, Reggie McElroy, Scott Reeves, Cody Sneed, Josh Corbid, Connor Barnes, Chad Shockley, and Brian Owens.

Rolla was 6-3 in Ozark Conference action. The Bulldogs had three games where they scored more than 40 points including a 74-8 win over Springfield Central and a 48-0 victory against the Hillcrest Hornets on the road. The team averaged 32 points per game last season compared to 29 by the opposing team in a year that had several close games.

Looking ahead to 2019, Franks is hoping to see his program move up the ladder in the Ozark Conference and earn the same respect that some of the top contenders have established.

“There are a few coaching changes, it kind of status quo," the coach said. "Camdenton, Lebanon and West Plains have earned the respect of everybody and are sitting there in the top third of the conference. There are some of us sitting in the middle of the pack that need to win a big game, keep earning respect and put ourselves in that top tier.

“Other than that it's the same- anyone can beat anybody on any given night in our conference.”

The team has five offensive starters returning this season. Colton Franks, who led the team last year in tackles, was and All-Ozark Conference and All-District selection to go with more postseason awards.

In terms of goals, Franks simply wants his guys to be performing their best each night and do so as a team.

”Our goal is to be our best, every team had a different capacity," he said. "To put a number on it is hard. We talked a lot about what we did- you can play a season without regret if it is 5-5, 8-2, or 9-1, there is a lot about a season, injuries and how you handle adversity. I call it a successful season when you go through the season with more done and everyone is wanting to play more.

“Every team has to find a new identity and become a team. That is kind of where we are right now.”

The Bulldogs will open their season this Friday against the Glendale Falcons at Rolla High School. Next week they will then travel to take on the Zizzers in West Plains before hosting the Hillcrest Hornets at home.

On September 20 and 27, the Bulldogs will travel to Springfield to take on the Parkview Vikings and Kickapoo Chiefs. The Bulldogs will host the Waynesville Tigers on October 4.

The Senior Night game will be on October 11 against the Lebanon Yellowjackets. Then, the final two games will be on the road when they face the Camdenton Lakers before the regular season finale against the Springfield Central Bulldogs on October 25.