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Football: Several area teams to start football practices

Denton coach Billy Miller has been in his new post for three months and has spent more time handling administrative stuff than actually stepping foot on a football field.

"It seems all I've done is paperwork," Miller quipped. "I'm ready to coach football again."

The Broncos' first-year head coach is getting his wish. Monday marks the first day teams that did not conduct spring football practices can begin workouts. That includes UIL schools Denton, Ryan, Argyle, Krum, Sanger, Pilot Point, Ponder and Aubrey.

Liberty Christian and Calvary, which are in TAPPS, are going into their second week of practice. Liberty will be in a week-long camp at Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose.

Guyer, Braswell and Lake Dallas were the only Denton-area UIL teams to have spring workouts. The first practice day for those teams is Aug. 14.

There are four new head coaches leading practices this week. Joining Miller is Sanger coach Cole Ford, Pilot Point coach Danny David and Calvary coach Joey Longoria. Miller echoed the sentiments of many area coaches — new and veteran — who are eager to get the ball rolling in an area where teams traditionally put together successful campaigns.

Of the 13 Denton-area high schools, nine made the playoffs last year. That includes Denton, which has made the postseason in each of the past three seasons. Ryan advanced to the Class 5A Division I state semifinals before losing to eventual state champion, Highland Park.

Argyle advanced to the third round.

"I think everyone is ready to go," Ryan coach Dave Henigan said. "We didn't have spring ball, so it's been a long time. The kids are ready, and it will be a good day. It always is."

Although most teams will wait until sunrise to begin the season, others prefer a night owl approach.

Krum will kick off its first practice just after midnight. This is the ninth straight year Krum will practice at the earliest allowed time, and the Bobcats believe it has benefited them. Krum has never missed the playoffs.

"If I were to stop doing this, I might get run out of town," Krum coach Gary Robinson said.

One team that is getting away from midnight practice is Sanger. Ford said the Indians instead will go from 6-9 a.m. Monday due to teacher in-service day. Sanger had a midnight practice in each of the past four seasons.

"It's been great for us, but we're going to change it up and revisit midnight practices next year," Ford said. "We're excited for football to finally be here. The kids have worked hard, and we finally get to see the fruits of that labor."

Aubrey and Liberty Christian also are expected to practice at 6 a.m. The next earliest start time is at Argyle, where the Eagles are expected to practice at 6:15 a.m. Ryan will take to the field about 6:45 a.m. Denton is the only team practicing in the afternoon, and it will start at 3:45 p.m.

Per UIL rules, teams starting practice this week are not allowed to have their first practice in full pads until Friday. Until then, they'll be in helmets and shorts.

"I'm excited for these kids to finally be able to go play football," Miller said. "I've watched them be successful from afar for all these years, and I'm ready to finally get up close and personal with all of them. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time."

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Football Practice Times — Monday

Krum — 12:01 a.m.
Sanger — 6 a.m.
Aubrey — 6 a.m.
Liberty Christian — 6 a.m.
Argyle — 6:15 a.m.
Ryan — 6:45 a.m.
Pilot Point — 7 a.m.
Calvary — 7 a.m.
Ponder — 8 a.m.
Denton — 3:45 p.m.