Chin straps buckled, the school band could be heard jamming in an adjacent parking lot and the yells of position coaches echoed throughout Panther Stadium as an undeniable signal the 2013 North Crowley football season was under way with the start of fall practice Monday.
“It felt good to be in a helmet again,” senior offensive lineman Norlin Anderson said. “I liked the effort of the team, we’re starting to get it.”
The Panthers were relegated to shorts and helmets with no pads as stipulated by the UIL. Athletes are allowed to participate in full contact after their fourth practice.
North Crowley coach Eugene Rogers was anxious to get the first official workout with his new team under way and even more anxious to get it under their belt and move on to the next one.
“The first day you have to get the jitters out, make sure everybody shows up and they have their physicals and get through that,” Rogers said. “Right now it’s just kind of chaotic. You have some kids coming back from vacation, you’re getting everyone suited out and trying to make sure practice runs smoothly. It will be better tomorrow.”
Former North Crowley great Chris Parham attended Monday’s practice and spoke to the team afterward.
Parham was a standout defensive end on the Panthers’ 2003 Class 4A Division I state title team, when Eugene Rogers served as defensive coordinator. Parham went on to play for SMU and is now a mortgage underwriter in the area.
“What brought me back was Coach Rogers, he’s my football father figure,” Parham said. “I’m seeing how hungry these boy are out here and how they’ve been working. I just wanted to see what the buzz is about.”
Parham said he hadn’t kept up much with his old high school teammates, but he’s looking forward to seeing many of them during the 10th anniversary celebration of their state title team. The ceremony will take place Sept. 13 when North Crowley hosts Waco Midway.
Beating the heat
The unrelenting August heat is just a reality of Texas high school football and in fact a point of pride for generations of former players. But for school trainers proper hydration is no joke.
North Crowley co-head trainer Valerie Duran said there were six water stations set up around the field and nine student trainers constantly supplying the players with as much water as needed Monday,
“The coaches have been awesome with communicating with me about when the water breaks are and then obviously they are allowed to get breaks anytime during the reps,” Duran said. “Their first priority is the health and safety of these kids and they are not afraid to make sure the parents, kids and we know that.”
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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