It has already been a remarkable summer in Hubbard, and two-a-days should just be the result of what makes coach Craig Horn even more optimistic about having a remarkable season.
“The senior leadership is going to be huge for us,’’ Horn said. “They worked really hard this summer. They beat (state power) Mart in 7-on-7 and they ran the 7-on-7 team themselves.’’
Usually there are parents and adults running 7-on-7 teams, but the Hubbard kids did it themselves. They organized the team, competed and looked good doing it, and had only one non-high school player help with the coaching — Cole Hill, a former Hubbard QB who graduated two years ago.
“They ran their own practices, organized the team and competed,’’ Horn said. “They took the bull by the horns. This group of seniors is phenomenal.
“They’re probably the best group of seniors I’ve been around since I’ve been a head coach,’’ said Horn, who has been a head coach for sex years, including three at Hubbard. “They were proactive. They did it.’’
The Jaguars went 4-0 in district and 8-3 overall, and are looking for even a bigger season this year. Trey Henderson, who rushed for 1,390 yards, and Casen Martin, who passed for 950, are both back as well as linebacker Jordan Johnson, who made 110 tackles last year.
All three are part of a senior class that has already made a statement this summer.
It’s a new day and new season at Rice, where Jerry Baldridge begins his second season as the head coach.
“Personally, for me the biggest difference this year is just knowing the kids,’’ Baldridge said. “Last year I didn’t know what to expect athletically or as far as their work ethic goes. I found out real fast that our kids work hard. Getting to work with the kids for a full year in other sports and as the athletic director and getting to know them personally and having a relationship with them, it’s totally different this year.’’
And it’s different on the field.
“We have a better understanding of what they can and can’t do,’’ he said. “We have a better idea of where to put our kids in a position to where they can be successful.’’
Baldridge sees a difference in the way his players are approaching the season.
“These kids are chomping at the bit,’’ he said. “There’s just a lot of energy. I would say the No. 1 thing is the kids were excited all summer. They have been in and out of the fieldhouse all summer and working hard all summer, and they’ve been telling us how they are looking forward to the season.’’