Spring football came officially came to an end last week with a quartet of intrasquad scrimmages across Leander ISD.
Glenn had the chance to participate in spring football for the first time while Cedar Park, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge all concluded spring practice on Thursday night. Leander finished earlier in the month while Rouse elected to start practice a week earlier in the fall and forgo a spring game.
Grizzlies head coach Rob Schoenfeld said he’s pleased with the learning that both the players and parents as all of them went through it for the first time.
“I think the biggest challenge of the grind of spring is that you’re going full bore with no payoff at the end of the week,” he said. “It’s a constant reselling of what you believe in as a program that’s it’s not about big accomplishments right now.”
The Grizzlies have played a schedule featuring smaller schools, private schools and junior varsity teams that last two years, but will move up to District 13-5A II for their first full UIL season.
Glenn opens the year at Liberty Hill on Aug. 31 and gets district play started at Elgin on Sept. 28.
Schoenfeld said the team has embraced the unknown of a new district and classification and it will be a positive because they’ll be able to face established teams that have a track record to emulate.
“The end game of these last two years has been to put us in a position to make the playoffs in the third year,” he said. “For a new program that started with really young kids, the first go around of having a senior class is impactful on the consciousness of coaches.”
Leander, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge will join a nine-team district with the five Round Rock schools and Hendrickson after spending the last two years in the same district as Lake Travis and Westlake.
Vandegrift's first two seasons at Class 6A have ended in the second round. But after a healthy spring and with a new district outlook, the Vipers are aiming to break through playoff barrier.
“There’s a lot of excitement about new opponents and new challenges,” Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said. “At the same time, there is a lot of respect. We’ve got some major challenges if we want to do well.”
Leander didn’t have a spring game and ended regular practices in mid-May. The Lions have been adopting a new offense to better suit their personnel and are the third-smallest 6A school in the state.
“We’re changing our offense a little bit to be a little more option-centered,” Leander head coach Tim Smith said. “I was pleased with the work we got in, but there’s always a question with how they’re going to adjust. The kids adjusted and we’re ready for a new year.”
Rouse decided not to do spring football this season and will begin camp on Aug. 9. The Raiders begin the season with a home game against Vista Ridge on Aug. 31.
Head coach Josh Mann said with the start of the school year being pushed up to Aug 16, it was worth getting the kids into camp a week earlier in the fall and that they’re still working on non-contact base things during the athletic period this spring.
“Talking with the kids, having that extra week and to pick up a second scrimmage so that we can get reps live against other competition led us to that direction,” Mann said. “It’s weird not doing spring football. We’re returning a lot of kids, so we knew going in what their experience level was.”
Cedar Park coach Carl Abseck got exactly what he was hoping for out of the spring practices.
“The kids played with a lot of energy and were flying around,” Abseck said. “We had some young guys in different places, but they were playing really fast. I liked the passion for playing the game.”
The Timberwolves are part of the newly formed District 11-5A I, which includes Rouse and new members Pflugerville and Manor. They begin the season at home against Vandegrift on Aug. 31.
“We’ve got some places that we’ve got to continue to work to improve, but we’re in a good spot,” Abseck said. “Our kids had a great spring in terms of growth, so I felt like what we got out of spring is exactly what we needed to get a head start in the fall.”