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CHRIS MOORE — August brings back high school football

This week millions of high school football players across the state filed into stadiums and practice fields for the start of training camps with high expectations.

Coaches and players hit the field with one goal in mind over the next few weeks — improvement.

State and district titles are won and lost in the offseason. The season is largely a war of attrition and a result of the work players and coaches put in during the summer.

In Southeast Texas, the line is drawn fairly quickly between those who will suit up on Friday night and those who will not.

Go ask almost any adult male in the area and there is, inevitably, a story of when they realized football was no longer for them. For some, it was as early as Pop Warner or middle school. For others, the message came much later.

The next few weeks are about seeing who has the ability to tough out hard times as much as it is about seeing who will make the team and where they will land on the roster.

Area teams have clear goals in mind. Port Neches-Groves is trying to build on a season that ended with a four seed and a first round exit. Nederland has almost a clean slate after a senior-heavy team led the Bulldogs to the third round of the playoffs in 2020.

Memorial returns the most starters of any team in the area. The Titans finished last year undefeated but suffered a first round exit on a last-second play.

All three teams started offseason programs in the spring and have carried over into the summer, but the real work starts now.

Many coaches can tell you who is going to be a playmaker on Friday nights just by how they perform in August.

While doing a preview on Nederland last season, Bulldog Head Coach Monte Barrow pointed to a junior and talked about the potential of a huge year from the way he prepared in the summer.

The junior was Kyndon Fuselier and the two-way star went on to have one of the best seasons of any player in the area.

If you want to know how good a player will be, watch how they practice. The same goes for a team.

PNG Coach Brandon Faircloth often uses the phrase “winning the summer.” He realizes the offseason is just as important, if not more so, than the games played in the fall. Those games are won as the sunrise peaks over the treetops on an August morning.

Every sports writer in Texas loves this time of year. Of course, the start of training camp means the dearth of sports story ends and we have survived the summer. But we also love the process of watching a team go from good to great. We enjoy seeing players go from kids with potential to Friday night playmakers.

Football is back. 

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.