BANGS — With the first week of football two-a-days inching toward its conclusion, Bangs head coach Chuck Lipsey and the rest of the Dragons are thrilled with what Friday signifies — the first day of full-pad practices.

    “We’re ready to get into pads and ready to start getting ready for our first scrimmage against Goldthwaite next week,” Lipsey said. “We had a good spring and a good summer, now we’re just wanting Friday to get here so we can get into pads.”

    Lipsey — entering his fourth season at Bangs, with five offensive and five defensive starters back from last year’s 8-4 playoff team — has installed the base offense and defense for the Dragons, and gone a little beyond that this week.

    “As far as the varsity goes, it’s been pretty smooth,” Lipsey said. “They’ve got everything down pretty good. We’ve done a little more with the varsity because they’ve got it down so good.”

    Approximately 80 players have suited up for high school football in Bangs this year, where the JV and freshman squads have had their shares of ups and downs thus far.

    “It’s a little frustrating with the JV and freshmen, but that’s understandable,” Lipsey said. “We’ve been going over our base offense and defense with the JV and freshmen, and it’s going to take them a while until they’re picking everything up good.

    “But everybody came out that we thought would come out. You always worry about one or two every year.”

    The Dragons have experienced one minor injury thus far in practice, but aside from that the Bangs players have held up well in the sweltering heat.

    “We have one with a hip flexor already, but everybody else is in good shape,” Lipsey said. “We’ve done pretty good on the conditioning part. We’ve been conditioning right in the heat of the day, but we condition the varsity again at night so that works out pretty good. We would like some cool temperatures and rainfall, though. Then we would all be happy.”

    As far as the coaching staff is concerned, the Dragons have made one new addition. Corey Bledsoe, who coached at Menard last year, has taken over as wide receivers coach, and will also serve as softball head coach in the spring.

    Bangs is scheduled to visit Goldthwaite on Saturday, Aug. 13, then scrimmage Sonora at Grape Creek on Aug. 18 before opening the season Aug. 26 with a visit from Wall.