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Bulldogs Sports

High schools get under way with two-a-days

Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 by Carlos Mendez and Tobias Xavier Lopez and correspondents Jarret Johnson, William Wilkerson and Paul

They showed up with dreams of a district championship, a deep playoff run or, simply, just one more win than they got last season.

On Monday, football players across Texas began working toward their goals as two-a-days got under way.

"The big thing for us is just getting everybody here, working on special teams and getting everybody in shape," said Everman coach Dale Keeling, whose team went 14-1 and reached the Class 4A Division II semifinals in 2008.

"Most of the kids have been coming to our strength-and-conditioning program over the summer, so hopefully they are in shape. Also, we teach a lot of what we do here during non-contact so that when we do get in pads, we don’t have to stop and talk and teach as much."

Players will put on pads Friday.

A look around the area from the first day of practice:

New era, new look

Grapevine’s first day looked dramatically different under new coach Dave Henigan.

Last year, Day One featured gray shorts and shirts, and running, running and more running.

The Mustangs got under way at 7 a.m. Monday with red shorts and sharp red-numbered jerseys.

But the workout was more intriguing than the fashion.

Rather than monotonous gassers, Henigan broke the team into positional drills. Quarterbacks threw, receivers practiced routes and linemen worked to get their feet moving.

"It’s new, you know, it feels good," senior running back John Mundy said. "I like all the new coaches, and it’s a good atmosphere out here."

A chance to impress

The Everman Bulldogs began a new campaign in hopes of yet another deep playoff run.

As non-contact drills began, several fresh faces looked to impress in an effort to earn a slot on the varsity.

The Bulldogs have a solid layer of senior experience on board but will lean heavily on an infusion of fresh talent from a junior-varsity squad that went 10-0 in 2008. Of the 45-player roster, coach Dale Keeling expects 20 spots to be filled by players from last year’s JV team.

QB tryouts at Dunbar

Fort Worth Dunbar coach Todd Lawson said he is looking at several candidates to get the ball to top receivers Darius White and Dominique Sanders.

Junior Vernon Sharp is the early front-runner, but there are two or three other candidates. Sanders also will get a look at quarterback.

The Wildcats, 9-2 last season, must replace Nicholas Rockwell, who graduated.

Big outlook at Wyatt

Fort Worth Wyatt might be able to take advantage of its size this season. Offensive lineman Skyler Huey (272 pounds) and fullback Chelino Vasquez (240 pounds) are two examples of why the Chaparrals are optimistic about a good running game.

"We should be able to use a fullback more, and two tight ends," coach Zachary Criss said. "We have four tailbacks and two tight ends."

The Chaps return eight starters on offense from last season’s 3-7 team, although junior quarterback Donte Taylor started only the last two games.

Conditioning pays

The Lake Worth Bullfrogs got to the practice field bright and early to beat the heat.

"It was kind of nice today and the kids held up well," coach Percy Whitmire said.

Whitmire said his team stuck to its conditioning program.

"They came in conditioned and you could tell they had been running," Whitmire said. "Usually the kids do all the weightlifting, but the conditioning is usually what they forget about."

Beating the heat

About half of the Diamond-Hill Jarvis players showed for practice at 8 a.m.

"We had about 40 kids show up," coach Rob Abernathie said. "We are still about 30 kids short. They are either still working and haven’t had their schedules fixed or out of town with family."

Abernathie said they will double their numbers once school starts.

Staff writers Carlos Mendez and Tobias Xavier Lopez and correspondents Jarret Johnson, William Wilkerson and Paul Wessels contributed to this report.

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