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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Teams excited as practice begins - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Teams excited as practice begins

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Posted: Monday, August 5, 2019 7:30 pm

UPTON AND PECOS COUNTIES The sun was still hours from rising, along with many of his players from their beds, when McCamey head football coach Michael Woodard walked into his office Monday morning.

“4:30 a.m.,” Woodard said. “We had to get things ready to go.”

It was the same for Rankin’s Garret Avalos and Iraan’s Matthew Luddeke as they prepared for the first day of practice for the 2019 high school football season.

Avalos admitted things were a little easier this time around.

After taking over the Red Devils’ program a season ago, the hometown coach found himself immersed in the off-the-field requirements that help a program run smoothly throughout the season and into the offseason.

“Just getting the little things worked out and having better communication,” Avalos said. “We have everyone back on staff and added another coach that’s really going to help us.

“Everyone is excited about the start of practice and it’s nice to get things going.”

Luddeke took over the Braves program in April after working as the offensive coordinator and power lifting coach at Industrial High School in Vanderbilt.

He hasn’t allowed the late start to slow him, jumping in with both feet and working to bring the players quickly up to speed.

Monday, it was conditioning, offensive and blocking drills on the script for the Braves.

“We’re excited to get started and so are the kids,” Luddeke said. “Everyone has been working hard to get ready for this day.

“We got here early today to make sure things were ready.”

Woodard is looking to continue the success that the Badgers have had the past two seasons under former coach Fred Staugh.

Staugh moved to Monahans to take over the Loboes’ program and Woodard was promoted from within after a search for a successor, having been the team’s defensive coordinator under Staugh.

Now, he’s running the show.

“Coach Staugh is a great coach and I knew it wasn’t going to be long before he moved to Monahans,” Woodard said. “We’ve had a lot of success the past two seasons and we aren’t going to be changing too many things just for the sake of change.

“Oh, we’ll have a few things we put in, things that I want to put in there. But we are still going to be doing pretty much what we’ve been doing the past couple years.”

What the Badgers, Braves and Red Devils have all been doing the past few years is winning and their head coaches are focused on building on past successes again this season.

Avalos, with an ear-to-ear smile as 32 players participated in the first workout, would love to see his players leading the team.

“That’s what you want,” he said. “I have a great group of kids in that if I’m a few minutes late to practice, they’ve already starting what is necessary.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at OALeeScheide

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