High School Sports

First-day practice live: Arlington Heights and Paschal football

When Fort Worth Arlington Heights opened fall practice Monday, their quarterback situation was more wide open than it once was thought to be.

The apparent starter-in-waiting, Doak Dozier, decided before the season to focus solely on his baseball career, passing on the chance to play quarterback for the football team.

“He’s a good young man and he’s a really good baseball player,” new head coach Phil Young said.

That leaves the competition open for two candidates, sophomore Deon Griffin and junior Harrison Lewis. Young said he likes having two capable quarterbacks with some years left in their high school career.

“They’re very competitive and they’re very smart,” Young said. “Whoever is the starting quarterback when we play [season-opener] Birdville, the other guy will probably be just as capable of backup.”

Lights, camera, practice

All forms of media descended upon Arlington Heights and Fort Worth Paschal on Monday morning.

Six TV news trucks showed up at Heights, while two TV crews and a radio station were at Paschal.

“I’ve been here since my freshman year and there is always someone coming out here to see what we’re doing,” Heights senior wide receiver Elijah Pierson said.

A familiar face

Arlington Heights coach Phil Young is the third Yellow Jackets’ head coach in as many years. The one-time Cleburne head coach was the Heights offensive coordinator n 2012.

Young said his move into the head coaching position has been a process that spanned the last eight months. For the players, there really isn’t much of a change.

“He’s been here since last school year, so everybody knows him,” wide receiver Elijah Pierson said. “He’s cool. He’s not hard to be around.”

Quiet time

At 7 a.m. Monday, Fort Worth Paschal running back Darrel James was eager to get started.

“I had to force myself to sleep last night,” James said. “I turned off the TV, turned off the phone.”

Paschal coach Matt Cook is expecting 180 to 200 players for his varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. The first hour-plus of Monday morning was spent “checking all paperwork, telling them team rules and policies, and passing out gear.”

The varsity gear included new silver helmets. In time, purple and white stripes will be added down the middle, as will purple-edged stickers in shape of Texas with a “P” in the middle.

Varsity and JV will hit the field at 6:30 tonight.

“The heat’s always a problem, but we’re here early in the morning and we’ll be here in the evening where it’s kind of cooler,” senior linebacker Joey Hammond said. “It’s always not fun to deal with, but you do.”

Senior guard Ben Anderson said many teammates attended summer weight room sessions and worked out on their own.

“We’re pretty excited. I think we’re ready for this year,” Anderson said.