Fall Athletics Practice Begins

Football, volleyball begin 2020 season
By: Todd Martin
There was no question of excitement as high school athletes began this week the fall tradition running plays and drills in anticipation of a new season.
At Killeen High School Tuesday, football players in helmets and shorts were in motion well before the sun rose above the Buckley Stadium visitor’s side bleachers.
Football, volleyball and other fall sports began official practice this week according to UIL guidelines that delayed the usual start for 5A and 6A schools.
As the Roos football teams ran through drills, Athletic Coordinator Neil Searcy expressed the emotion for an entire community – “we’re playing football so it’s a good day.”
The following morning at Harker Heights High School, the Knights showed similar enthusiasm working on special teams in the mud and drizzle just before a steady rain continued near the scheduled end of practice.
Athletic Coordinator Jerry Edwards agreed with his counterpart that nothing is dampening the spirits of players and coaches.
They were hard at work starting Monday, Labor Day and continued in heat that turned to mud two days later.

Volleyball teams are working to begin seasons Tuesday, Sept. 15, including home matches for Shoemaker and Harker Heights, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. District matches begin Sept. 29.
Ellison volleyball coach Sarah Stolley said it’s been a strange start to school, but as the Lady Eagles worked on hitting and blocking she said she is taking on “an attitude of gratitude.”
“I’m just glad we’re getting to play,” she said, noting that she’s especially relieved for her seniors that they will have a season. The schedule is shorter, but she scheduled dual matches to start to give her team added experience.
“I’m excited. I’m happy. I have an attitude of gratitude. We’ve got some good kids ready to get rolling – really ready.”
The high school football schedule looks different this year.
The UIL limits stadium capacity to 50 percent. Visitors must self-screen, wear a protective mask and maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
Home varsity football games will be livestreamed on KISD-TV.
The feel is different, coaches said, looking forward to the first game a month later than usual.
The later football schedule sets up some unusual circumstances, including a busy season finale the day after Thanksgiving.
On Friday, Nov. 27, the end of the district’s Thanksgiving holiday Copperas Cove plays football against Harker Heights in a 2 p.m. game at Leo Buckley Stadium and Bryan comes to town for a matchup against Ellison High School at 7:30 p.m.
The same day has Shoemaker meeting Belton High School in an away game at Tiger Field and Killeen on the road at Temple’s Wildcat Stadium.
Earlier in the season, on Friday, Oct. 2, Harker Heights High School plays a home game against Georgetown at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Crusader Stadium starting at 7 p.m.
Volleyball scrimmages begin Friday, Sept. 11.
Football scrimmages begin Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18.
The first varsity home football games are Thursday, Sept. 24 when San Angelo Central meets Shoemaker High School and Friday, Sept. 25 when Georgetown East View faces Killeen High School. District football games begin Oct. 15 and 16.