Pads start poppin' at C-P, Cumby
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

August 5, 2004 - Excitement is in the air at two Hopkins County schools as the first full day of working in pads starts Friday morning.

The Como-Pickton War Eagles and Cumby Trojans will be suiting up at 8 a.m. during two-a-day practices at their respective fields.

Como-Pickton has 33 players who are at practices as of Wednesday and head coach Joe Ryzman has been very pleased with how his team has handled the practices so far.

"I have seen a lot of leadership out of the seniors, and the kids are working hard," Ryzman said. "We have got some good players in place but not a lot of depth."

With full-pad practices starting tomorrow and a three-way scrimmage against Chisum and Union Hill Aug. 14, Ryzman knows the players are ready to get into their uniforms and get down to work.

"We are going to let them get all of the hitting out of their system at the start of practice, and after we do that we will do some tackling drills," Ryzman said.

Ryzman said the players will then work on the drills they have been doing during the non-contact workouts, and coaches will monitor how the players respond to see if practices need to be cut short due to the heat Texas has experienced lately.

"We are making sure to give them plenty of water breaks. We have ice buckets out here for cold towels so during breaks they can put water over their heads and down their shirts and help keep their bodies cool," Ryzman said.

In Cumby, the Trojans have 40 players at two-a-day practices and second-year coach Kent Hawthorne has made sure the team has been hydrated for practices every day.

"We have ice buckets outside with plenty of water to make sure we don't have what happened at Dallas Carter, but you can't control that situation," Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne sent a letter out to his players two weeks before the start of two-a-days and told the kids what he expects to see them bring every practice.

"I told them to get a gallon jug and put their name on it and to drink a gallon of water everyday. When they were coming to the weight room they were bringing their gallon of water during the summer," Hawthorne said.

The Trojans still have a handful of kids who have not had their physical exams completed yet and Hawthorne believes it is hurting the team as practices are continuing at the school.

Hawthorne said the coaches are feeling pretty good about where their kids are right now, and that they are stronger this year all around.

The Trojans are ready to begin full pad practices Friday and have already been showing signs of what is to come when they suit up for the first time.

"I think these kids hate not being in full pads. They have been knocking the fire out of each other without being in the pads, and we want to see the kids do things right when they do suit up," Hawthorne said. "When they put the pads on, they will be able to put everything together that we have learned during drills. These kids are very hungry right now."

The two teams will meet in their final scrimmage Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Heflin Field in Como.

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