Spring football comes in handy at Calhoun

Julie Garcia By Julie Garcia

Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:27 p.m.

PORT LAVACA - The construction at Calhoun's stadium didn't make a difference in the first day of football practice for the Sandcrabs.

"We'll probably go over there a couple times to get used to the turf because we open there," said Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker. "This is normal for us right here - there's a lot more room for us here."

After a walk-through Monday morning, Calhoun's team met again at 5 p.m. on the practice field to run drills, get the players reacquainted with plays and work on retention after a long summer off.

A near-constant coastal breeze made the weather bearable for the team, which will practice for four days before putting pads on.

With many area teams starting practice last week, Whitaker said they are behind in conditioning but not in play memory.

"I've always been a spring ball advocate because you get four weeks of practice - you get 18 days of practice," Whitaker said. "If you don't do spring ball, you get one extra week and one extra scrimmage. I'll take the 18 days any time."

In that month of practice, Whitaker filmed many of his players to see where their strength lies and where they will do the most damage to the opponent.

"We gave everyone a chance to get on film, and we analyzed that film - we tried to make the best decision we could coming out of spring football," he said. "The ones that had the opportunity jumped on those opportunities and worked very hard to earn themselves a spot."

After having 25 seniors graduate last May, Whitaker knows there are important spots to fill, including quarterback.

Calhoun's 2013 season ended at the Class 4A, Division II semifinals with a 13-2 overall record.

"We'll probably go into the preseason with a few different guys (at quarterback)," he said. "Gavin Trevino was our backup last year, and he's going to play QB some. Raheem Jones is getting a lot of snaps right now. I'm sure both of those young men will get some action early on."

But Monday's practice was still too early to put kids in positions.

Whitaker saw areas that needed work but was also pleased to find his guys were remembering offensive plays and defensive tactics from May.

"Our kids always come back in August retaining the plays very well," he said.

Now in District 24-5A, Calhoun will face several Houston-area opponents.

But Whitaker's done his homework.

"We feel like we have a very tough schedule; our preseason is very tough," he said. "A scrimmage against Flour Bluff, five preseason games - we're going to be well-tested. Kids are going to have to be up to the challenge. We'll find out a lot about ourselves."

Calhoun's season opener will be 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Somerset.



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