Tigers excited as football practices begin

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter
The Glen Rose Tigers go through tackling drills Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Stadium. Their first day of preseason practice was Wednesday.

It wouldn’t take long for Glen Rose High School head football coach Cliff Watkins to call the roll of his upperclassmen this season.

The Tigers opened their preseason football practice on Monday at Tiger Stadium with 93 student-athletes in all, 9th through 12th grades. But this year there are only 11 seniors and even fewer juniors — six — who are in the football program.

Watkins said that those two classes have been smaller, but because the sophomore and freshmen classes are much larger, “the numbers are about to go way up” in the next few years.

“We’ve got some good seniors that will be good leaders,” said Watkins, who has only two offensive and four defensive starters among the 12 lettermen back from last year’s 7-6 regional semifinalist squad. The Tigers are picked by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine to repeat as the District 5-4A Division I champion. “We’re excited about our younger classes. They’re going to have to grow up fast. I think we’ve got plenty of them that will be up for the challenge.”

The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 precautions left coaches and players wondering — until recently — whether they would even be allowed to play at all. But the excitement, as always this time of year, was never in question.

“They’re just glad to be back out there,” Watkins said. “The season was up in the air for a long time.”

After Tuesday’s morning workout — though it’s a small sample — Watkins was liking what he saw.

“It’s been a good two days. It’s good to be back out there and get to practicing. There were a lot of kids running around and getting after it. It’s exciting.

“Right now we’ve just got to get in the best condition and shape we can. We’ll throw a lot at them and see what they can do.”

Per UIL rules, the Tigers practiced in helmets and shorts Monday and Tuesday, then added shoulder pads Wednesday. They will be in full pads starting Saturday.

The Tigers had to drop Benbrook as one of their scrimmages because it’s in Tarrant County and public schools there are having their sports seasons delayed because of COVID-19 precautions. The lone scrimmage will be Thursday, Aug. 20, against Stephenville. It’s set to begin at 7 p.m., at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.

The first regular-season game for Glen Rose will be Aug. 28, at home against Springtown.

The other non-district games slated are: Sept. 4 at Gatesville; Sept. 10 (Thursday) against Fort Stockton, at the SAISD Stadium in San Angelo; Sept. 18 at Grandview; Sept. 25 at home versus Decatur; and Oct. 2 at Mineral Wells.

District play starts Oct. 9, at Godley, followed by Oct. 16 at home against Hillsboro; Oct. 23 at Venus; and Nov. 6 at home versus Ferris. The week of Oct. 20 is the Tigers’ open date.

Glen Rose High School head football coach Cliff Watkins, wearing a protective plastic face shield because of COVID-19 precautions, talks to his players at the end of Tuesday's practice at Tiger Stadium.