Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
It may be spring, but it's still football season in Mineral Wells, Texas.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation out of approximately 1,300 teams, the 4-0 Texas Bullets of the semi-pro Texas United Football League bring their undefeated record home to Ram Stadium on the campus of Mineral Wells High School with a chance to continue a run toward the semi-pro national championship.
The Bullets have a distinctly local flavor, with former SMU Mustang quarterback Justin Willis captaining a fast-paced, spread offense and a defense that runs the smashmouth 4-2-5 scheme perfected by Gary Patterson at TCU.
But team owner and right guard Jeromy Puckett said it's the atmosphere of a Bullets game that makes them truly unique and a perfect team for the city of Mineral Wells to rally behind.
"It's a good brand of football," he said. "We do it for the love of the game. None of the players get paid. But there's a lot of great athletes.
"You've got a ton of good athletes out there and it's a good family atmosphere. We're trying to put on a good show and show people good quality football at a reasonable rate."
For just $8 for adults and $5 for students, the people of Mineral Wells can attend Bullets games and watch a team on the cusp of a potentially memorable season.
The Bullets feature a wide variety of players, ranging from junior college athletes to men in their 40s who just didn't want to hang up their shoulder pads. In addition to Willis, the Bullets also feature multiple former NCAA and pro players, including Evan Huahulu of Utah State and Antonio Rodriguez of the Houston Texans and Barcelona's football team.
Plenty of names familiar to Mineral Wells Rams fans appear on the Bullets roster as well, such as Daniel Gray, Jeff Smith, Scott Aaron and Terrance Lawrence.
The combination of players and their dedication to each other has resulted in a fast start for the Bullets and one Puckett expects to continue.
"When I was looking at our team, I knew we had a special team this year," he said. "Once you come to a game, you're hooked. Especially this year. We've just got a flat out phenomenal team."
The Bullets were founded in Weatherford seven years ago with Puckett acquiring the team about three years ago. Ultimately it was Bullets player and Mineral Wells ISD School Board member Scott Aaron who convinced Puckett to move the team west to Mineral Wells.
Puckett said moving to Mineral Wells has been a great positive, but the team still hasn't quite met its potential as far as fan support goes.
This Saturday, at 7 p.m., the Bullets will host the Denton Rhinos in Ram Stadium. The Rhinos, who swept the Bullets in three games last year, are now quarterbacked by former TCU recruit and Willis' fellow Denton Ryan product, James Battle.
If that wasn't even to sweeten the pot, Saturday is also "Honor the Military Night," during which all military personnel, whether current or former, get free admission to the game with a valid ID.
Puckett – who's father died three years ago from lingering effects of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War – said it's important to thank veterans for what they've done for America.
The Bullets hope to become a can't-miss attraction in Mineral Wells, especially as the city continues to grow. All they need is community interest, and Saturday's game against last year's TUFL runner-up is a perfect place to start.