TAYLOR COUNTY—On a clear and sunny day in Taylor County, quite a few of our local teams began gearing up for their upcoming athletic seasons.
Multiple levels of football as well as the Grafton Lady Cats’ soccer team took to McKinney Field yesterday for their first day of practice. At Taylor County Middle School, the cross country teams were getting ready for their 2019 campaign as well.
At the high school, the Bearcats’ coaching staff was pleased with the initial turnout and the results at the end of the first day. “We had a great opening practice,” said Grafton High School head coach Rich Bord. “We had 55 kids come out and they practiced hard considering the weather. It was probably over 100 degrees on the field. We will be working on perfecting two things, effort and execution. If we can accomplish those two things then we are going to have some success this season.”
GHS assistant coaches Mickey Foley, Chad Delloma, and Jonathan Curran also shared their thoughts about opening day.
“It was great to get started,” Foley said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how this team grows this season.” Delloma added to Foley’s comments by stating, “it was an exciting day.” The energy was at a high level and the kids responded well for it being the first day of practice. You could tell the kids were ready to get back on the field today.” Curran said that the kids made some errors but he was thrilled with what he saw out there on the first day back. “As a staff, I thought our energy was really good, and the kids responded and the effort was really good. We definitely made some mistakes which is expected on Day 1, but our attitude and energy were great!”
Youth football hit the field after the high school team’s practice came to a close and saw the return of the Mighty Mites, the PeeWees, and the Midgets. Coaching each team this season are Rick Glaspell (Mighty Mites), Ben Kinsey (PeeWees), and Hartsel Keener (Midgets).
“We are excited about the start of the season and first experiences for the players,” said Glaspell. “Everybody worked hard and we want them all to learn and enjoy the game of football.”
Keener shared the importance of getting his team prepared for the next step in their football lives, which for most of them will be playing at TCMS.
“It was a good day overall,” Keener said. “This is the last step for a Midget football player before they move on to the next level. “This is my favorite time of the year and as the head coach it’s my job to promote the love of the game and explain that hard work will always beat talent. They bought into that philosophy slowly but surely tonight.”
Sharing the field with the football teams between their practices were the GHS Lady Cats’ soccer team. Head Coach Lorraine Isner voiced her excitement for the upcoming season.
“We had an excellent first day. We have 26 athletes who are excited about the 2019 season and are ready to work, physically and mentally, to make this season all that it can be.”
Those 26 athletes include eight seniors, six juniors, eight sophomores, and four freshmen.
At West Taylor Elementary School, TCMS Cross County Head Coach Karey Maier was busy getting her runners ready for this season as well.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” Maier assured. “We have 22 runners this year. We have some strong runners as well as some first timers. The kids worked hard and appeared eager to run.”
Maier also added that she hopes many residents will come out to cheer on her team this season. “Our first home meet is at West Taylor Elementary on September 4th at 5:15pm. We hope you come out and support the youth at Taylor County.”
Be sure to check out the Mountain Statesman’s Fall Sports Preview which will publish in just a few weeks for an in-depth look at all of the county’s fall sports teams.
Included in the preview will be additional pictures, complete rosters, and quotes from the coaches of all of the teams.