New Aubrey head coach Mike Segleski realized he’d have the task of living up to the legend G.A. Moore left behind when he retired as the all-time wins leader in Texas high school football history.
But what caught the first-year head coach off guard was how vigilant a head coach must be over his program, from making sure practice stays on schedule to keeping the small talk between sessions to a minimum.
And, of course, the obligatory questions about Segleski’s predecessor lingered around the start of the season, with people asking if he’ll run things like Moore ran them.
“A lot of the answer is, ‘Yes,’ because I’ve been with him for so long,” Segleski said. “Obviously you have your own stamp on things and you tweak things a little bit. But is the system still the same? Yes, it is the same, and it’s going to be.”
Segleski and the Chaparrals are among many teams across the state that wrapped up their first week of practice, with Friday marking the first day of contact practice.
So far, Segleski seems to be reaping the benefits of succeeding a legend. The school has 106 players in its football program, with as many as 40 players possibly playing varsity this season.
Both numbers are relatively high in the five years Segleski’s been at Aubrey, with the first four as an assistant. He credits the surge in numbers to the younger grades getting older.
Segleski currently says he’ll have about five or six players on both offense and defense, which is lower than usual. He’ll also be receiving the services of two of his best players — junior tight end Collin Scribner and quarterback Kyle Lynn — returning from injuries.
Scribner missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in the first scrimmage of 2011.
“Just to have his presence back will help our offensive tremendously,” Segleski said. “Just seeing that in practice has been huge.”
Lynn broke his right foot during the first week of summer camp in June and had surgery. He also had a stress fracture in his left foot. He had screws placed in each foot and was cleared Thursday to start throwing the ball.
Segleski said Lynn should be ready for the team’s season opener Aug. 31 against Pottsboro.
Segleski also praised running backs Anthony Alford and Robert DeLaTorre for their solid performance in practice so far.
Entering his 12th year as Ryan’s head coach, Joey Florence is faced with a different task than he’s had the last couple of seasons, when Division I-caliber athletes flooded the roster. This season, that’s not the case. And while there are a couple of names on the defensive line such as juniors Sekou Clark and J.T. Williams and senior offensive lineman Matt Griffin, Ryan’s roster is filled with unknown variables and potential.
And for Florence, the unknown is something he’ll gladly welcome.
“This year, there’s kids out here competing,” Florence said. “They’re hungry and eager to step up and protect the tradition. I’ve enjoyed them quite a bit.
“I’m excited. I’m rejuvenated, and this team seems to be a close-knit team.”
Florence has declared junior Mitchell Bridges as the starter at quarterback, with Xavier Gray and junior Preston Compton — a move-in from Southlake Carroll — as the backups.
Bridges served as a short-distance specialist last season and played most of the year with a torn shoulder and an injured collarbone. He had surgery in January to repair both.
Florence said key position competitions exist at cornerback and outside linebacker, with the team’s first scrimmage against Fort Worth Southwest on Friday. But until the Raiders’ first game of the season against Corsicana on Aug. 31, Florence and his coaching staff will have the task of figuring out where to put the fresh faces throughout the lineup.
“You have to get them in the right places,” Florence said. “That’s our job as coaches. It makes practices more fun for me, I know that at least.”
Ponder running smoothly
First-year head coach Russ Phillips didn’t have much to complain about following his team’s intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning.
His young players got plenty of good looks. The first and second teams played really well, he said, and the upbeat tempo matched the pace the team played with during the week.
With a lot of new things being implemented throughout the program and about 90 percent of the offense installed already, Phillips’ toughest task this week may have been organizing the team’s “Meet the Lions” night. Parents and members of the community learned about all the aspects of a Friday night football production, from the band to the cheerleaders and the junior varsity and varsity squads.
Phillips said he was happy to get into a rhythm and build upon what the team did in the spring.
“It was good for me, as a first-year head coach, to get that first week going, get it under my belt so to speak and get a good schedule as far as from day-to-day and the organizational aspect of that,” Phillips said.
One of Phillips’ biggest concerns was getting quarterback Reid Sanders back. Sanders injured his knee a week before Ponder’s first game last season, forcing running back T.J. Ferryman to fill the void.
So far this year, Sanders has thrown the ball well and has been a pleasant surprise through the first week.
“We had to get him back in order for this thing to work,” Phillips said. “If we keep him healthy, we’ll be fine.”
One better than two
With the new practice rules by the University Interscholastic League that includes banning two-a-days on back-to-back days, Sanger’s coaching staff has opted to only practicing once a day. Through the first week of practice, the decision has proven to be the right one.
“It’s created a more upbeat, up-tempo practice because we don’t have to think about coming back and practicing in the second practice,” Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath said. “So it’s made the one practice we’re having a better practice.”
Galbreath is switching to the hybrid winged-T offense, with the focal point of the offense now on junior running back Derek Shelby.
Sophomore Brandon Mann and junior Wyatt Broxson are competing for the starting quarterback job, but Galbreath anticipates both will see playing time this season.
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