HUNTSVILLE — Huntsville seniors Trent Bell and Collin Bradford haven’t been sleeping a lot lately. They’ve been too keyed up thinking about the start of football practice and the four months, maybe five, of fun that follows that first workout.
After a spirited three-hour practice Monday evening at Mance Park Middle School, Bell, Bradford and all of their teammates probably slept like babies. Football season has kicked off for the Huntsville Hornets.
“It feels amazing to be back on the field. It just feels right,” Bradford said after the Hornets completed a long and productive practice.
Itching to play some football since this spring when the Hornets were limited to in-class workouts, Bell said he has been anxiously waiting for August 5 to come up on the calendar.
“I’ve been staying up really late the last few weeks, I’m not going to lie,” Bell said smiling. “I’ve been watching hudl (a website where players can watch game films from high school teams all over the country), studying tapes and checking stuff out. I’ve been watching a lot of Brenham’s games and I really believe we can hang with anybody around.
“I’ve got great faith in my teammates and my coaches.”
Led by quarterback Malik Brown, utility man Morie Evans, defensive tackle Cody Garcia and defensive end/receiver Da’Cuan Jenkins, the Hornets have a talented team returning in 2013. They’ve been picked by Texas Football and Friday Night Football magazines for a second-place finish in District 18-4A, but they believe they can beat Brenham, Montgomery and the other six teams in the league and capture their first district title since 2009.
They’ve just got to continue coming to work like they did Monday, eager to learn and fired up to play some football.
“Offensively we were sharp, and defensively we were sharp,” linebacker Michael Pena said. “We’re learning a lot of stuff, but we’re going to get the hang of it.”
Bradford gave two thumbs up to Monday’s workout.
“For the first day,” he said, “I think we did pretty good. Most everybody was working hard, we got a lot of reps in and everybody appeared to be in really good shape.”
Huntsville head coach Shane Martin agreed with his senior center. Stuck on the top field at Mance Park for most of the evening coaching linebackers and defense, Martin didn’t see a lot of the varsity team’s offensive practice. But he was pleased with what he witnessed during the last hour or so when the team did some 11-on-11 work, first on offense, then on defense.
“I’m really pretty excited about what I saw,” Martin said. “There was a lot of retention with our kids. They remembered a lot of what we did in the spring. That stuff carried over pretty well to today. The kids are also in pretty good shape. They ran around and got to the ball well. Our intensity was good and there weren’t a lot of letdowns.
“Today, there was a lot of coaching going on, but not a lot of correcting going on. We did a lot more pushups on the first day last year than we did tonight, that’s for sure. The kids came here today with a sense of urgency and they came here knowing we can be pretty good this year. I’m pretty fired up with what I saw today.”