Flyers open fall football practice

Aug. 2, 2010 at 3:02 a.m.

St. Joseph football players practice switching the ball from left to right while touching the ground on the first day of practice.

St. Joseph football players practice switching the ball from left to right while touching the ground on the first day of practice.

A new era of St. Joseph football started Monday as the Flyers worked out for first-year head coach Donnie Slatter.

"It was a lot of intensity, really fun. Definitely a lot of learning, but he brings a lot to our team and I'm looking forward to the season," said senior free safety/wide receiver Hayden Vesely.

Although Slatter knows it'll take time to implement his system and way of doing things, he was impressed at the rate his players improved as the workout went on.

"The second practice was easier than the first," Slatter said. "As it got hotter we went harder and faster to set that tone for the season."

"We're introduced to it and by the end of practice we were running it and we're getting comfortable with it," Vesely said.

Slatter wants to have his base schemes in and "give them an idea of what's going on," before the Flyers scrimmage Aug. 14 against Ganado and Brookshire Royal, he said.

"It feels good to get out here and run and be with your teammates," Vesely said. " I see a lot of chemistry right now and a lot of good things on the first day."

Slatter came to St. Joseph after spending 10 years as an assistant coach at New Braunfels Canyon.

The players eased Slatter's worries about a smooth transition from their previous head coach, John Mares, who left this off-season to take a job as an assistant coach at Goliad. Mares led the Flyers to 108 wins and 11 playoff appearances, four state semifinals, and a state final appearance in 2002.

"One of the things that I was kind of concerned about was the changing over and how the kids would take to that," Slatter said. "They did well, they came out upbeat and positive."

Slatter was hired in mid June to take over a St. Joseph program that hasn't had a losing season since 1999 and advanced to the TAPPS regional round each of the past 10 years.

In 2009 the Flyers finished with a 10-2 overall record and dominated TAPPS Division II, District 3 outscoring their opponents by a combined 165-68 and advanced to the TAPPS State Regionals before falling to Dallas Parish Episcopal 17-15.

In 2010 the Flyers have to adjust to a new coach but also a new district as the school was reclassified into TAPPS Division I, District 2.

A new football season is an annual rite of fall as much for a new coach as his players.

"You can tell it's that time of year again, I'm excited I can't wait for that first game," Slatter said.

The Flyers also scrimmage Edna on Aug. 19 and open the regular season Aug. 27 at San Antonio TMI.



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