The Keller ISD football teams are in the process of winding up spring drills with the finales starting this week.
Spring football games are slated starting Tuesday and will be played through next week.
Central was set to be the first to conduct their intra-squad game on Tuesday at Charger Field.
As with each series of spring practices, teams are looking to fill newly-vacated spots.
“Each year, we’re looking for new faces to plug in to those spots left open by graduation,” said Central head coach Bart Helsley. Central will look to fill eight such spots on their defense.
One spot which Central has a solid returner is at quarterback, where Jake McClurg returns for his senior season. He threw for just under 1,000 yards last year as a junior.
“He’s had a good spring,” Helsley said. “And our offensive line is really coming together. I feel like they’ve done a good job and we’re very encouraged by the offensive line play.”
Helsley said those coming back for their third years are known commodities, so the focus of the spring drills is on those who are looking to make the varsity squad. “We know what they can do,” he said of the returnees. “We’re going to find the ones who are going to be the next group of kids to lean on.”
Central kicks off the season on Aug. 29 with a tough non-district run through L.D. Bell, Arlington Lamar and Wichita Falls.
Fossil Ridge has set their spring game for Thursday at 7 p.m.
Panthers head coach Tony Baccarini said the spring affords his squad to improve its physicality.
“We’ve got some good guys coming back, but we want to be very physical in the spring because we don’t have that luxury in the fall,” Baccarini explained. “In the spring, we can do it every day and go with the 1’s on 1’s (first team offense against the first team defense), the 2’s on 2’s and so on. We can be more physical practice-wise in the spring. We can also look at some things scheme-wise and make our plans before we go out in the fall. Some things will stick and stay in the package.”
Along with the physical practices, Baccarini said some players are a little dinged-up, but that goes with daily, physical practices.
Another plus for Fossil Ridge comes in experience.
“We’ve got good leadership on both sides of the ball,” Baccarini said. “It makes a big difference when you have that leadership.”
At Timber Creek, the spring game is set for Friday.
Head coach for the Falcons, Kevin Golden, said they are looking to build depth.
“We are looking to find out who can play varsity or the ones that aren’t quite there,” he said. “So far, there’s been a lot of teaching.”
Also in the spring, Golden was more lighthearted, saying, “I try not to throw my hat,” he joked.
Keller will wind up the spring games when they play their annual game on May 28 at 7 p.m.
The Indians will be working to improve on their win/loss record, but have some elements in place to make that happen.
Most notably, Keller returns Tristan Teuhema for his senior season. The offensive tackle has been listed on several ranking services as one of the top linemen in the state.
Teuhema is set to play at LSU after graduating and join his older brother, Sione, who graduated from Keller a year ago and has been at LSU as a defensive end.
Among the many honors for Teuhema in his senior season, the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl had recently announced their initial nominations for the all-star game at the end of the season.
The 400 athletes nominated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee, only 90 will ultimately be selected and invited to play in the game televised live on NBC on Jan. 3 from San Antonio’s Alamodome. The finalists will be announced throughout the fall with the final selections being made in early December.
Sione participated in last year’s Army All-American Bowl game.
Tristan said he’s looking to go all out in his senior year. “We’ll have a new quarterback who is left-handed, so the blind side will be on the right,” he said of elements he’ll be focused on in the spring. “I also can’t take plays off,” he said sheepishly.