High school football season begins this week, and if you’re a fan of one of the eight Golden Circle teams that probably means you need to fill up the gas and check the GPS.
That’s because six of the eight high school teams in the GC start their seasons on the road.
You won’t need a GPS to follow Corsicana’s Tigers and new coach Hal Wasson to Burleson, where the Tigers open their season at the same stadium where it ended last year.
No one will ever know if the Tigers would have beaten Centennial in the 5A Area Round of the playoffs if QB Blake Hoffman would have played the entire game, but Hoffman left with an injury and the Tigers saw their season end.
That seems like years ago, especially with the arrival of Wasson, a legendary coach who has won everything and won everywhere he has coached.
Wasson has brought a new intensity not only to the Tigers but to the fans of football in Corsicana, where the town is buzzing about a new era and a return to the glory days of Corsicana football.
The first steps will be Friday on the road against a Centennial team that Texas Football magazine ranked No. 13 in the state in its preseason poll.
Hoffman and the entire backfield graduated, taking more than 90 percent os the 2018 offense with them, but Wasson’s new kids and new offense have a lot of promise and sophomore quarterback Solomon James can sling it.
He brings a strong and accurate arm to a new offense that likes to move the ball in the air and move it quickly, and that means receivers such as Drew Denbow, Lane Fuentes and Qua Chambers are going to be a big part of the Tigers’ season.
They will be huge underdogs Friday in Burleson, where everyone in Corsicana believes a new era will begin.
Mildred has to travel to Jewett and face Leon, a team that beat the Eagles by a single point to start the 2018 season, a season Mildred would like to forget. Too many injuries and too much youth caught up with Mildred, which failed to reach the postseason for the first time in years.
But first-year coach Duke Dalton has brought back some familiar faces to the team, including QB Creed Baker, and young Bishop Harris shows all the promise of having an electric season both running and catching the ball.
Dalton, who has pumped a lot of energy into the program already, knows how to win, and everyone at Mildred is ready for a fresh start Friday.
There’s also a new coach at Blooming Grove, and Ervin Chandler has hit the Grove with a bolt of energy and passion and has his Lions fired up for a big season after going 5-5 last year.
Expect a big and energetic crowd when the Lions play their first home game next week against Kerens, and don’t be surprised if a caravan heads down to Cross Roads, where Chandler’s kids begin their season with a big victory Friday night.
Kerens is coming off a tough season that started a year ago with a bitter one-point loss to Waco Reicher Catholic. Well, Terrell Harris’ kids are looking for a better start against Reicher this time, even though they will have to drive to Waco to get it.
Dawson is coming off its best season in years, and coach Ronnie Striplin, who turned the program upside down in just two years, leading the Bulldogs to the playoffs a year ago, will have his team poised for another run to the postseason.
Brendan Horner is back at QB and Zane Guerra returns at fullback and both are impact players on both sides of the line, but the real stars at Dawson will be all over the field for a team that believes in each other.
The Bulldogs open Thursday night at Waco ISD Stadium against a formidable Axtell team.
Everyone at Hubbard can’t wait for the season to get started, and why not? Just about everyone is back from a playoff team, including QB Logan Morris, RB Cooper Martin and big-time linemen Chance Hasse and Sebastian Olvera. The Jags are headed for a big year and it begins on the road Friday at Bartlett.
Rice and Frost are the only two teams at home this week.
Rice, which will have to find a way to replace Dee Robinson, who ran for more than 5,000 yards in his career with the Bulldogs, graduated.
Don’t worry, coach Andy Mills didn’t leave.
Mills changed everything when he showed up at Rice five years ago, and the Bulldogs have been in the playoffs every year he has been there.
Mills will find a way (see QB Tanner Carlisle) to put up enough points to win and defensive coordinator Michael Scott, who is the man behind the Bulldogs success in powerlifting, will once again have a defense teams don’t want to face. Rice faces powerhouse Groesbeck at home Friday night and has home game next week against Rio Vista.
Frost and first-year coach Randy Fulton will be at home Friday against a tough Cayuga team to start what should be another big year for the Polar Bears, who return two of the most dynamic players in the Golden Circle in RB Ramon Manrriquez and QB Tony Alvarado.
The Frost kids like Fulton, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator the last three years. He knows the program, knows the kids inside and out and he hit the field running earlier this month, excited and full of energy to have his own team.
Cayuga will be a big first week test for a Frost team that is playoff bound.
All games at 7:30 p.m.
Dawson vs. Axtell in Waco ISD Stadium
Corsicana at Burleson Centennial
Mildred at Leon Groesbeck at Rice
Cayuga at Frost
Kerens at Reicher Catholic
Blooming Grove at Cross Roads
Hubbard at Bartlett