Steve Hoffman didn’t blink.
Didn’t hesitate. Didn’t clear his throat.
Didn’t need to.
“Crucial,’’ Hoffman said. “It’s crucial.’’
That’s how Hoffman described what two-a-days meant to his Corsicana Tigers, who will be at Tiger Stadium at 6:30 a.m. Monday to take the first steps of the 2013 football season.
They’re here — Two-a-days are here. They show up Monday in all their heat and glory. High school football teams all over Texas begin practice. Everybody is unbeaten. Everybody is headed for the state title.
You can cut the optimism with a knife.
Each of the nine teams in the Golden Circle start anew with their own unique set of problems and their own set of stars and dreamers — but everyone has the same dream.
For Hoffman, who was hired in April to head one of the most tradition-rich programs in Texas, the summer practices are “crucial.’’
“I came in late (in April) but the kids have been great. They have bought into what we want to do. But they still have a lot to learn and we didn’t have a full off-season,’’ Hoffman said. “And it will be our first time to be seeing them in pads. You have an idea what a kid can do, but you don’t know until you see them in pads.’’
Hoffman wants a physical team and a smart team. His kids have to be. He runs a lot of formations, and his offense will be a unique hybrid — part spread and part Wing-T.
He wants to throw the ball, but he also loves the run.
“It’s a new system for these kids,’’ said Hoffman, who had Corsicana playing in a 7-on-7 league this summer for the first time in years. His 7-on-7 team had a chance to run some of his new offense and the team finished second in the Teague league. Corsicana’s linemen, who will be led by center Chris Jones, who started as a sophomore when Corsicana went to the state semifinals, won the Big Man competition this summer.
Everyone is anxious to see the return of quarterback Devontay Bell, who was out for most of last year with a torn ACL. Bell is back, and he’s running 4.5 40s these days. Nobody want to get back on the field and win more than he does, and every player on both sides of the line feels like this is going to be a big year at Corsicana.
“It seems like it couldn’t get here fast enough,’’ senior defensive end Donavon Hailey said. “We’re ready for two-days. We’re ready for a big year.’’
Steve Hoffman didn’t blink.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris
Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
She had no idea.
And she didn't care.
Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.
GC: Mildred's O'Sullivan and Bland chosen to play in FCA All-Star games
Mildred’s Devin O’Sullivan and Callie Bland have been selected to play in the FCA’s All-Star games on June 1.
CHS Baseball: Lindale haunts Tigers again with critical 4-0 win
Lindale has been poison to Corsicana all year.
The Eagles won a bizarre game in Lindale to keep the Tigers out of the football playoffs and ruined the boys basketball season with two gut-wrenching wins in the final week of the season.
They did it again Tuesday, beating the Tigers 4-0 at Price Field to take over second place in the District 16-4A race.
Lindale (6-2) had one big inning to hand Corsicana (5-3) its second loss in a row.
GC Volleyball: Kerens' Kelly signs with Paris Junior College
She prayed about it. She lost sleep about it. And she prayed about it some more.
That's just a glimpse of what Marqueshia Kelly went through before deciding to turn down a half dozen basketball scholarships and accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Paris Junior College.
The journey might have been a little sleepless, but in the end it wasn't that tough for Kelly, who is a multi-sport star at Kerens.
“I followed my heart,'' she said on Tuesday just moments after signing a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Paris in front of family, coaches and friends.
CHS Tennis: Tigers play well in powerhouse region
Corsicana's tennis team finished its season with a strong showing in the Class 4A Regional Tournament at UT-Arlington before falling to some powerhouse players from Dallas.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Blooming Grove edges Mildred 1-0 (Adds Dawson-Hubbard baseball)
Blooming Grove kept its baseball playoff hopes alive, winning a pitcher’s duel, 1-0, in Mildred Tuesday night. Dalton Blake struck out 11 and scattered five hits in a well-pitched game that took an hour and a half to complete.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs sweep Bossier on Sophomore Day
From a one-sided laugher to a hold-your-breath finish, Navarro’s softball team celebrated Sophomore Day on Saturday in front of its largest crowd of the season.
The Bulldogs ripped Bossier 14-1 in a five-inning romp and then had to fight for their lives in the second game, finally winning 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a squeeze bunt that brought home Caitlin Moerbe, who ended the day with a dust-filled slide at the plate.
GC Softball: Hubbard, Curtis shut out Axtell 3-0
For Hubbard’s Olivia Curtis the magic number was 15 -- as in 15 wins and 15 strikeouts.
But don’t stop counting now. There’s plenty left for Curtis and her Hubbard teammates who have made the most of their stretch run in the district race, and capped off a huge week with a 3-0 win over Axtell on Friday.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Kerens' Anderson pitches perfect game (ADDS Dawson baseball)
Brett Anderson threw a five-inning perfect game Friday at home to lead Kerens over Neches 11-0 in a key district game that leaves the Bobcats in first place with a two-game lead.
CHS Baseball: Tigers lose to Nacogdoches 4-1
In a battle for first place in the District16-4A race, Nacogdoches and pitcher Brigham Hill stopped Corsicana’s Tigers 4-1 Friday to take over the lead in the district with a 6-1 record. The Tigers are now 5-2 and face Lindale, which is also 5-2, at Price Field on Tuesday night to try to gain ground in a tough district race.
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- Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris