The waiting game begins.
After an offseason full of strength conditioning and a focus on becoming a more physical team the Waxahachie Indians wrapped up spring practices Thursday with the annual Green vs. White scrimmage.
Held like a normal game with four quarters and a halftime break there were positives on both sides of the ball but to return to the playoffs in 2011 there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We made positive steps this spring as we’d hoped. To say we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do would be a stretch. We are still a ‘work in progress’ on playing physical and aggressive football,” Waxahachie head coach David Ream said. “We’ve had some issues with commitments that we need to improve upon. Overall, I’m pleased with the way the spring has gone and anxiously awaiting our fall camp.”
Waxahachie will return to the field Aug. 8 for conditioning drills before being allowed by UIL rules to start contact drills on Aug. 12.
Last season was the first time in 20 years that the Indians missed the playoffs. The move to a nine-team district before last season proved to be too much to overcome as the district was referred to by many as one of the toughest districts in the state.
“We believe we will be a contender for a district championship and playoff spot in 15-4A. The district should be as balanced as it was a year ago and a challenge week in and week out,” Ream said.
One positive of the spring drills was the lack of injuries. Quarterback Don King III was injured in defensive drills with a little over a week left while there were just a couple other minor injuries.
“We had some injuries that have slowed us to some extent. Craig Renfro has a bruised knee and Bryan Randall has a turf toe but both are expected to be back at full strength with a little rest. Dra Carter and Casey Maynard had hand/wrist injuries that limited their practice time. Most were injuries that they would play through in the fall,” Ream said.
King returns as one of two quarterbacks that is expected to rotate at the position while the Indians expect to have a slew of talented running backs to help pace the offense.
In Thursday’s spring game Brooks Teeter and Jake Villarreal led the White team while Christian Brewer and Tyler Stevenson were the quarterbacks for the Green team.
The game resulted in a 14-14 tie with all the scoring coming in the second half as the two teams had trouble moving the ball in the first half.
Waxahachie limited mistakes and was penalized just four times in the game while the teams combined for nine total first downs.
One area not addressed in the spring game was special teams and that remains one of the biggest areas of concern entering the summer break.
“With our senior kickers graduating, this is one area of concern for our staff,” Ream said. “We had anticipated some competition for the positions this spring but it did not pan out as the young men we were counting on have elected not to play. We are back to square one.”
Yovany Arvizu and Juan Castillo kicked for the Indians last season with the team using several players at punter including King.
In the return game the Indians lose LaDarius Brown to graduation but have several people with return experience and plenty of team speed.
“We have returning candidates who will be experienced and adequate but to be honest, LaDarius’ talent cannot be replaced,” Ream said.
The Indians opened the 2010 season with Denton Guyer in the Oldcoach.com Classic. This year the Indians will return to the Classic but will open with Flower Mound Marcus on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Carrollton’s Newman Smith stadium. Instead of playing in the heat of the day like last season the Indians will have the feature night game at 8 p.m.
Following the game against Marcus the Indians will play Dallas Carter at Kincaide Stadium before having a bye Sept. 9. Waxahachie has played at Kincaide on several occasions over the last couple of seasons in the playoffs.
After the bye the Indians open District 15-4A play on the road in Terrell before holding the first game at the newly renovated Lumpkins Stadium on Sept. 23 against rival Red Oak.
Home games scheduled for 2011 include district games against Red Oak, Corsicana, Lancaster and Mesquite Poteet. Homecoming is Oct. 7 against Corsicana while Parent’s Night is Nov. 4 against Mesquite Poteet.
During the summer there will be voluntary speed and conditioning camps that will be available to the players to keep up the improvements made during the spring drills. Those camps run through July.