Two-a-days: Glen Rose football gearing-up for 2015 opener

Travis M. Smith -- @travis5mith
Two-a-days: Glen Rose football gearing-up for 2015 opener

A fierce tiger centered on the Glen Rose Tigers’ Wall of Honor is positioned directly opposite of the football field house’s front doors. The wall showcases the photos of previous Tiger football standouts, and ranges from Howard Payne University’s Greg Vaughn to former Tarleton State receiver Jason Mathias, Red Raider Tommy Webb, and even former tight end for Texas A&M University, the New York football Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys Dan Campbell.

All 22 athletes displayed on the honor wall are more than deserving, and a serve as a daily reminder to the newest batch of Tigers. A legacy can be started, left, and honored on the turf at Tiger Stadium.

Early on Monday morning, 102 Tigers and their coaches walked through those doors, looked at the wall, and got to work. The boys of fall are back.

After jumping out to a 7-1 start in 2014, the Tigers faltered down the stretch, and eventually dropped their last three games – including an opening round playoff loss to eventual state champion Cameron Yoe. A strong offseason and spring in addition to an admirable 7-on-7 season, has Glen Rose Head Coach Tommy Dunn chomping at the bit for the season ahead.

“It’s always good to get back out here and going again. It’s good to get all of the players back together, because there is a lot that we have seen all summer, but there are also a lot that we haven’t seen all summer,” Dunn said. “You know, we have a little bit of conditioning to do, but the heat shouldn’t be a factor because we are going earlier in the day. It’ll take us a while to get into the condition that we need to get into, but we have had a good, good couple of days so far.

“It’s the second day, so I’m sure everyone is a little more sore, but I am very pleased with how it has gone so far.”

Although the Tigers’ 7-on-7 season may not have ended in College Station with a state tournament bid, it did allow for first-year quarterback Ethan Hartman and company to get their feet wet as a cohesive offensive unit.

“I was not displeased with how 7on7 went, you know we did fall short of a goal of qualifying for state, but other than that, we saw much improvement every week, and we even won our pool in two of the four tournaments we went to,” said Dunn of his team’s performance this summer. “The last two [tournaments] we got to the qualifying game, and we missed out there at the end by just a score. We got what we needed out of 7on7 by just playing in a competitive setting against good teams. Every time we stepped on the field, we got better.”

Hartman – who is a two-year letterman at receiver, will have a whole new batch of skill players to work with, and according to Dunn, will rely heavily on the guys in the trenches. Even though he has not played quarterback since junior high, “it’s not like you are putting a rookie in there” because of the time he has already played at the varsity level, according to his head coach.

There is no time to rebuild at the high school level, and Dunn is fully aware of that, he instead knows this Glen Rose squad is ready reload its roster from last year’s talented junior varsity team.

“I think when you go through a class of 28 seniors like we did last year, then you are going to have to draw heavily from your JV,” Dunn said. “I think we have a lot of guys who we looked at late in the season last year, and we have a lot of guys coming back from injury, so that number is deceiving just a little bit, but we have good young classes.

“Starting off, we have good experience on the offensive and defensive line, and you can build off of that, and that is what we are doing. We have some good young kids who want to be playing on Friday nights, they want to be in there, and it makes for a competitive practice, which is good, because that makes everyone better.”

The lack of returners at the skill positions will make for a few interesting position battles, something the coaches are excited to watch unfold. The core of the Tigers offensive and defensive units is already in place, and it’s just a matter of time before those skill players begin separating themselves from the pack, according to Dunn.

“We always try to make it competitive at every position, but where we don’t have the experience coming back is at the skill positions,” Dunn explained. “We don’t have the skill receivers, secondary or linebackers coming back from last year, so I think that all of those spots are going to have new people starting there. Those are going to be the places to keep an eye out for. You are really looking at every position besides those guys up front and the quarterback, but it’s good to have experience at those positions.”

Three Fridays and two scrimmages are all that stand between the Tigers and the official kickoff of the 2015 season in Ferris.

Key losses from 2014: ATH Hayden Holder, WR Sam Strother, OT RJ Darch, QB Colten Lane, OLB Hayden Swearengin, S Chance Nabours, ILB Trey Yochom, K/CB Alex Cocito, WR Jayton Dillard, OG Jonathan Rios.

Key returners in 2015 – QB Ethan Hartman (Jr.), OL Braxton Burrios (Sr.), C Reece Nickel (Sr.), DT Miguel Burraza (Sr.).