The football season begins for Cumby and Como-Pickton Friday as they kickoff the new season.
CUMBY — Trojan head coach and athletic director Tom Dracos has been coaching football for more than a dozen years.
But pardon him Friday night if he has a case of nerves.
After all that time of walking the sidelines, wearing a headset, attending meetings - this is the first game he will lead a team as a head coach.
Cumby plays at Alba-Golden with the teams clashing at 7:30 p.m. in a non-district football game. It’s not a game which will count in the standings, but still an important contest.
“Nerves?” the coach asks. “Most definitely. Mine, as well as the kids.”
Dracos took over the Cumby program after Gary Parrish left. Parrish went 4-6 in his only season as head coach in 2012. He was a longtime assistant.
Now the program belongs to Dracos. He has gotten the players to work harder than they ever had before, maybe even harder than they thought they could.
But the Harris Ratings have the Trojans a 24-point underdog when the open the season at Alba-Golden.
The Panthers are picked fifth in the seven-team District 8-2A, Div. II race with Cooper the selection to win district.
Alba-Golden has four offensive and six defensive starters from a team which went 4-6 a year ago.
Players to watch for the Panthers include - Austin Kennedy, an offensive lineman who is 6-5 and tips the scales at 265-pounds. Other standouts to watch include linebacker, Brent Chrapowichi, noseguard Gus Peacock, running back Edward Salinas and Dalton Wright.
The Panthers can be a powerful team to stop on offense if they get their Power I attack rolling.
Cumby, a member of District 10-1A, Div. II has a few starters back from last year’s squad. Cody Anderson was all-district last year at running back and linebacker. Travis Taylor was Newcomer of the Year. Other standouts include - James Webb, Nick Folse, Dustin Heer and Jaden Duck.
“I expect the game with Alba-Golden to be very physical,” Dracos said.
“We are going to have to stop their run. They are very physical and want to work the ground game.”
The Trojans will be using a newly-installed spread offense. Cumby will be hoping to find weaknesses for big gains in Alba-Golden’s 2-2 stack defense.
Dracos added, “We are close. Monday was the best practice we have had all year. Usually, the first couple of days of school its hard to have a good day of work. Our kids came out focused and got a lot accomplished.”
Having a team which is prepared and ready to play, goes a long way toward settling down the nerves of a new head football coach.
COMO — After long, hot practices the Como-Pickton Eagles get to start the football season with a home game.
The Eagles did not get a break, with the home game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ron Heflin Field against state-ranked Corsicana Mildred.
The visitors are ranked No. 10 in the state Class 2A, DII poll and went 13-2 last year.
Como-Pickton is coming off a 1-9 season under head coach Conley Bland. The Eagles lost to Mildred, 51-7 last year playing on the road.
“Our preparation is going well and we are looking forward to the game,” said Bland. “I expect Mildred to be wide open on offense, with a solid passing game and running the traditional plays of a spread offense, like the counters, jet sweep, and zone plays. The quarterback is a very good athlete, both passing and running the ball. The running back is very fast. I expect our team to play well and give a great effort. We certainly have to limit turnovers to have a chance in the game.”
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