BANGS — After the hard rains of the past few days, work resumed on the Dragon Memorial Stadium playing surface Thursday as football season draws closer.
Bangs Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Chuck Lipsey is paying attention to the new artificial turf installation with a sense of urgency to the upcoming season.
Lipsey, who is entering his sixth season with the Dragons, said Thursday that the construction was delayed a bit by the hard rains.
“When they first started they told me it would take eight weeks from start to finish,” Lipsey said. “The rain has delayed that a bit, but we needed it (the rain).”
Lipsey said they are working on the drainage system at the field now, and that the rain helped pack down the dirt.
“We open up on the road the first two weeks with Clyde and Llano. So the field just has to be ready by Sept. 13 when we play Goldthwaite at home,” Lipsey said.
Lipsey returns four starters on offense and five on defense this season as he lost 21 seniors to graduation.
“Out of those 21, only six or seven were starters, so I think we’re in good shape,” Lipsey said.
Returning to lead the Dragon offense are seniors J.T. Newton at quarterback and Josh Truelove at wide receiver.
“That’s the big thing I was worried about in the offseason, was who J.T. going to throw the ball to,” Lipsey said.
Lipsey said that after baseball went down to the wire, he was able to get a good look at his new crop of receivers at the two 7-on-7 tournaments in which the Dragons participated.
“We have some good kids coming up from the JV,” Lipsey said. “Cameron Castillo caught some good balls for us in Austin.
“I was really proud of our kids’ performance down there in the state tournament. After looking at the players’ performance down there, I feel better about the receivers.
The Dragons qualified for the championship bracket of the 7-on-7 Division II state tournament for the first time in just their second appearance at state. Bangs fell in its champion bracket opener, 33-26 to Dallas Episcopal, after posting a 2-1 pool play record.
Lipsey said that due to Bangs’ lack of players, some will go both ways again this season, but that was a necessity.
“We’re going to put the best 11 players on the field so we can win,” Lipsey said.
Newton and Truelove will both return to double duty, with Newton as quarterback and defensive back, and Truelove as wide receiver and outside linebacker or safety.
Bangs is picked to finish second in District 3-2A Division I behind Wall.
When asked about the preseason rankings, Lipsey said “That’s fine. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”