Ever since the first drop of sweat was shed over the summer, this week was targeted.
The beginning of District 13-4A football. Well, sports fans, it's heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrreeeeeee!
Tuesday's practice started about 4 p.m. the freshmen and JV were scrimmaging. Here's a window into some of the things heard and overheard.
RAIN, THEN DRY - The shower which came through town around 1 p.m. it did cool things off for a while. Then humidity came back with the sun. Isn't that always the way it is
here in the Lone Star State. Head coach Greg Owens characterized the brief rain as "just enough to settle the dust" and the coach was right. No dust was flying at practice today, just members of the D-fense.
IDLE TALK - Line coach William Blaylock and left tackle Chris Sorley turned to a variety of topics before practice started. Like Wolf, Bear, Lion and Eagle scouts. Sorley is dedicated to the task of becoming an Eagle Scout and hopes to finish the training soon. Blaylock said as a kid, he tried scouts but it did not take. He said, "I was in just about every football, basketball league so my week for full."
WHAT AN ARM - Tyler Halerumal, often just the offensive center, has now branched out to other pursuits after scoring a touchdown Friday from the "Bulls" formation where he took on the role of QB. He was showing off his strong left-handed throws and working on an option pitch. His hands, well, he already has good hands, that's why he's the center.
SOUL BROTHERS- Line coach Chris Owens watched a contact drill and exclaimed, "You ain't blocked a soul yet."
TOUGH RUNNER- Dadrian Smith said he was tough to tackle because he did not want to go down. Smith also gave me some layout ideas about using him and scatback Kendrick Daniels in a pictorial collage together, since they make such a potent one-two punch for the offense.
QUE THE WAGNER MUSIC - - at least two big, harry, military looking choppers flew near the practice field, more over toward Coleman Park. It was an interesting visual looking over through the whispy clouds, "I love the smell of Ben Gay at a football practice in the evening. It smells like victory."
HEAD COACH Greg Owens said it is the beginning of district, ready or not. He said you never feel like you are completely ready for the "games that count." Owens said he is concerned about his team making mistakes, mental and physical and still being responsible for too many penalties. On closer inspection of the stats, the coach is right. In four non-district games the Wildcats have been whistled for 30 flags for 226 yards or an average of 7.5 penalties a game, accounting for 56.5 yards. That is a bunch.
BRACED FOR action quarterbacks Blake Macek and Justin Owens put on knee braces and got ready for drills. The braces are a precaution to avoid injury on their plant legs.
MAIN MANN- A usual, the vocal, and musical D.J. Mann was in fine form. He first shouted "District time, district time, district time!!" to the receivers he coaches telling them that the time for serious play has begun. First Mann had the players run "The Gauntlet" then he got on the device and made the WRs run first with one football, then with one in each hand through the foam covered, spring-loaded fingers. Then Mann did a drill of his own where he stood in the middle and the receivers trotted around him while he threw out passes from the front, behind his back, over his head, between his legs, to test their dexterity. Not exactly Harlem Globetrotters, but not bad for a football coach.
FOREVER YOUNG - Defensive coordinator Matt Young was charging his troops-- "Be under control, make the play. Linebackers, step, stack. Everybody is locked in. Hey, I like the way you are running today. I like it. That's very good."
THE OC - Jeff Riordan laughed at the scout team as they tried to set up plays. "We don't know what a tight end is or a full back."
Sulphur Springs runs the spread and uses not such players. But some players, started and JV members were in the role of the scout team for this week. Even in the unfamiliar slots of TE and FB. Riordan looked at a play drawn up, "This is a double tight end formation, do you know what to do?"
INTENSITY WILL be increasing as the week of practices continues for Denison. Early scouting reports and football polls have the Wildcats installed as a 41-point favorite over the Yellow Jackets.
It was Denison who ended the state-playoff run for Sulphur Springs last year 49-35 in Dallas at SMU's Ford Stadium on a sunny December Saturday. The Prim should be packed Friday for the district opener. Revenge is a dish best served cold. What's the forecast?
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