82 players report between varsity, JV squads

Like clockwork, the rain halted just in time for the start of the first day of football practice for the Brownwood Lions Monday morning at Gordon Wood Stadium.

Rain throughout the night threatened to wreak havoc on the initial preseason workouts of the season, but the Lions were able to get their session in without interruption. The cooler temperatures were welcomed as well, and highs are expected to reach no higher than 90 degrees the remainder of the week. A threat of rain exists Tuesday morning, but the Lions are prepared.

“As long as it's not storming, the rain shouldn't bother us,” said Lions head coach Kyle Maxfield. “We're very fortunate to have the turf at Gordon Wood Stadium. If it does get stormy, we always have Plan B with our indoor facility or a gym. We do have a plan in action, but hopefully we don't have to use it too soon.”

The pleasant weather may have enhanced the enthusiasm a tad, but Maxfield anticipated plenty of excitement Monday morning. Expecting the weather to remain this nice is another story, and that's not all bad.

“The first day it's always easy to be enthusiastic because it feels like you've been waiting on it forever. Coaches, kids and everybody else have an extra pop in their step,” Maxfield said. “The weather doesn't hurt, of course, but it concerns you a little bit to make sure you're getting enough conditioning and getting acclimated to the heat. But I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to get that done before the first game.”

Maxfield is beginning his second season as head coach in Brownwood, where the Lions are looking to improve on last year's 6-4, bi-district championship campaign.

“Walking out here the first day this year compared to last year, not only for me but the other coaches, it's more of a family atmosphere,” Maxfield said. “You know each other, you know everyone's strengths and they know what to expect from you. It makes everything go a lot smoother.”

Between the JV and varsity squads that practiced at the stadium Monday, more than 80 players reported.

“Everybody we expected to show up is here,” Maxfield said. “Our numbers are good. We have 82 kids nearly split down the middle, half on varsity and half on JV. That can change throughout the year, but that's exciting to see. You see most of them during the summer, but it's exciting to see them all out here together.”

Maxfield reported no significant first-day surprises, but said the Lions have added some team speed.

“It's easy to get caught up the first day on how fast everybody's moving around, but we got a couple of new faces that haven't been around here that definitely add some speed to the team,” Maxfield said. “The overall attitude and unselfishness we have now, if we can keep that together, people being unselfish and keeping the team first, it gets really exciting fast.”

The first day of full-pad practice is Friday, and the Lions have three objectives to accomplish before then.

“We're focused on our conditioning, installation of the offense, defense and kicking game and then personnel, seeing where all the pieces of the puzzle are going to fit,” Maxfield said.