LBJ football players convened on a cool, soggy afternoon for the beginning of a season full of promise.
Then again, most players and coaches feel rejuvenated when they strap on helmets for the first time. On Monday, the first day of high school football practice for many teams throughout Texas, the fun just started.
“After training for seven months just to get to this point, we’re extremely excited,” said Jahmal Fenner, whose team reached the Class 4A Division I state semifinals last season. “We’re ready to get rolling.”
Fenner might have been speaking for many Central Texas coach who are welcoming a new season. While schools that offered training in spring don’t start until next Monday, many others kicked off on a rainy, 70-degree morning.
On another matter, many area school districts announced decisions on Monday on whether they will permit home-schoolers to participate in district activities. Of the school districts contacted by the American-Statesman on Monday, Hutto was the lone school district that will allow them to compete in their district.
A release from the Hutto district reads as follows: “Students must be in good academic standing, have not been enrolled in any public school or charter school during that academic school year, and comply with all state and local requirements for competing in that sport.
The Austin school district last week said it will not permit home-schoolers to participate in AISD events. Others that have objected to opening their doors to home-school students include Round Rock, Lake Travis, Bastrop, Lampasas and Leander.
Leander released the following statement: “LISD will not be allowing home-school participation in the 2021-2022 school year. All students participating in UIL activities must be enrolled full time in an LISD school. This includes athletics, fine arts and academic competitions. We will monitor this during the upcoming school year to determine if we will change our stance on this in the future.
At Hutto, LaPlante was greeted by 90 incoming freshmen on Monday. A fast-growing area, Hutto is about to open a new ninth-grade center roughly four miles from the current high school. Also, stadium renovation will include new bleachers and a new press box on the home side of the field.
Construction was delayed by the February freeze and 11.6 inches of rain in May. The Hippos have had to find other venues for home games because the stadium might not be completed until October.
Lampasas has a construction project, too, but it has nothing to do with a new stadium. Rogers must reload after losing a large senior class that included four-year starting quarterback Ace Whitehead.
Rogers is banking on two players to fill the void. Senior Dax Brookreson moved to quarterback after playing safety the past two years. Dylan Sanchez, who played for the JV last year, is returning from ACL surgery, but he will be ready when the varsity reports next Monday.
Ables said it felt “really weird” to open camp on a cool day. The first practice was delayed more than an hour with lightning in the area.
“The coaches told me we had something similar in 2007, but I can’t remember that,” he said.
Although he will turn 60 in December, Ables said he still gets excited about a new season.
“Heck yeah, I’m ready,” Ables said. “When the fire is gone, I’m done. If I thought there was any doubt about this, I wouldn’t cheat the kids or my coaches. I love being around them. There is a strong desire to pull together as a team.