Weatherford Sports

Brock stays up late to welcome new FB season

Special to the Weatherford Star-Telegram

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No one beat Brock in a football game last season. Also, no one beats the Eagles when it comes to starting practices for each new season.

For a fifth consecutive year, how long the program has been in existence, the Eagles opened the season with Midnight Madness. Actually, it began a minute after midnight Sunday night/Monday morning, per University Interscholastic League rules, and virtually the entire town was there to cheer the defending state champions as they took the field for the first time in 2016.

"The whole community gets to come out and celebrate this with us," said senior defensive back/running back Trent Patino. "It shows just how much support we have, and that motivates us in a big way. It definitely gets your heart pumping, makes you want to go out there every day and give everything you have. We want to give them what they give us."

And the community does indeed give them tremendous support. They love their Eagles. What's losing a little sleep when you have a chance to be there for the first practice of a new season, the first step toward what they all believe will be another great season?

"I've got to be at work in a few hours," one fan was overheard saying to another as they walked into the stadium.

To which the response was, "Me too, guess I'm going to be sleepy or try to sneak in a nap."

While there were undoubtedly a lot of bleary eyes Monday at work, all in attendance were wide awake. This includes several youngsters who were getting to stay up well past their normal bedtime, and loving it.

"My brother (Cole Holt), this is his first year in high school and his first year to be a part of this," said fourth-grader Sam Holt. "It's kinda cool staying up this late."

Ditto for his friend, Luke Cearley, a fifth-grader.

"I have a sister (Abbey Cearley) who cheers. This is my first time to be here, and it is really cool," he said. "You get to see all the players practice and hang out with friends."

Both play peewee football, and of course they both want to be Brock Eagles when they get older. And yes, they have no doubt the Eagles will win state again, as is the case with most of those who were there.

"This is awesome. This is a big step in our little town," said 2005 graduate Jackie Herron, who has one brother who plays (Trevor Herron) and another who is a manager (Riley Herron).

"They're going to win. They always win."

To which her fifth-grade daughter Alexis added emphatically, "They never lose!"

In fact they did not last season, finishing 16-0. But this is a new season, and Chad Worrell, the only head coach the Eagles have ever had, said it is time for this year's 20 seniors to focus on carving out their own place in history.

"This is their year, their legacy," he said.

It was Worrell who started Midnight Madness as part a way to celebrate football finally coming to Brock. It was held at the old football field, and it was such a success that continuing it wasn't even a question.

"Everybody looks forward to it," Worrell said. "Parents cook breakfast burritos for the players to eat after practice. It's a great gathering for the whole community. And they get a sneak peak, the first look at this year's team."

Sophomore Cooper Nelson is a regular at Midnight Madness. He said he looks forward to being reunited with friends.

"Sometimes you don't get to see people over the summer, and this is a chance to catch up," he said.

Tom McGee, whose sophomore son Easton plays on the offensive line, said each Midnight Madness is a reminder of how far the program has come in a short time.

"Seeing it all come together from the waiting to this, the field, the stadium, the success, it's a big deal," he said. "And it started this year as soon as it was over last year."

Brock seniors Katelyn Whittenburg and Savanna Rodricks said they made a pact to attend every football game this season, no matter where it is played. Last season's state championship game was played in Houston.

"This is really special for the Brock community. We're a small community, and we're really close," Whittenburg said.

"We all have a bond in this community, and it's brought out in an event like this," said Rodricks, whose boyfriend, Parker Murphree, is a senior tight end/utility player.

Murphree said this year's Midnight Madness takes on even more significance because it will be his last as a player.

"It is kind of sentimental, definitely a nostalgic moment, a memory I can hold onto," he said, letting the thought soak in. "The summer has gone by quick."

Then, he added that following this special night, there is still a state championship to defend.

"What we did last season, it raises the stakes, and with that comes excitement and expectations," he said. "Hopefully, we're up to the task. We're ready to get this season going."