Monterey trainer Wayne Hutchinson decided this year to do things a little differently.
Hutchinson decided to forego spring football, allowing the Plainsmen a second scrimmage and an earlier start to the preseason.
So 5A Monterey was able to enjoy the training together with class 4A and among the schools on Monday, the first day approved by the UIL.
The Plainsmen, on the high school’s recently installed lawn, were delighted with the opening of another season when training began that afternoon.
“I’m just thrilled,” said senior running back Trent White. “At the beginning of the season, we as a team simply have the feeling that we can surprise many faces and show people what we are made of. … We really have a lot to prove and are all excited just to show this year. “
The players also seemed to like the earlier than usual start.
High School Football Season Preview: Schools in Lubbock and South Plains ready for return in 2021
“I’m a huge fan,” said senior quarterback Blake Porter. “We’ve been playing spring football for the past few years and it was really nice to get some extra training, a little more time with the team that is closer to the season instead of doing spring football.
“I’m really grateful for that. Twice a day, it gets us going … We’re just one step ahead of everyone else. … It was a good decision by Coach Hutch. “
Senior nose guard Angel Navarro said he “woke up with a pretty great feeling”.
Despite the excitement of a new season, it was a “bittersweet” moment for middle linebacker Andrew Garcia entering his senior year of high school.
“I was ready for it, patiently impatient,” said Garcia. “I’m ready to go, but it’s kind of depressing to know that these are my last first two-day games of the season. I’m just ready to get it going.”
Football is back: Storylines that will follow as athletes prepare for the season in the South Plains
White said the Plainsmen are out to show that they are not “one of the underdogs in Lubbock”. The team is looking to improve its 4-6 campaign in 2020, and White has goals for a district championship.
It was a common theme among the players who feel they can surprise the doubters.
“We worked our heads off this summer and really changed that culture,” said Porter. “We make sure our squad is good and ready to face whatever opponent we have this year. We really believe we are going to shock some people.”
More: The post soccer team hopes to continue the successful run with new faces on the pitch
Shallowater starts under new trainer
The Shallowater Mustangs hit a 9-1 record and entered the field for the first time under coach Rodney Vincent on Monday at Todd Field.
“It felt so good,” said senior linebacker Major McCully. “It felt like we’d never missed a shot. It’s just out here that they’re all 100 percent.”
Vincent, who has been with Shallowater for a little over a month, said he was impressed with how quickly the team is picking up their new system. He called it “one of the best first days I’ve had on any program I’ve been on.”
The mustangs also had great energy during their first fall training session, the trainer said.
“It’s great. We adapt to him,” said Keegan Campbell, senior running back / cornerback. “Every guy likes him.”
McCully praised Vincent’s football IQ and said the Mustangs “all accepted him like family”.
Campbell admitted that his final season is “kind of scary” but he looks forward to “getting better not just as a footballer but as a man”.
The thought of his last football season was also surreal for lineman Brady Reed, who remembers his first training as a freshman and regarded the upper class like “giants”.
Now Reed is happy to be one of those giants.
“It’s exciting to be out here, but it’s kind of scary,” said Reed. “We have our final year to make a statement. It’s exciting to be leading all of these little boys, knowing that they look up to us. It’s going to be fun to see what we can do this year … The Snap a finger and I’m here now (as a senior). It’s crazy. “