By Melissa McCaghren
The 2019 Bi-District qualifying Southland Eagles football team, along with hundreds of 1A-4A schools across the State of Texas, took to the field and weight room to prepare for their upcoming season last week.
Head Coach and Athletic Director Dusty Grantham said so far practices have started off well. “Our kids are working hard and excited to play ball. We have a great coaching staff so the season has started off really well,” he said.
There are only nine kids so far on the team, which plays six-man football.
This also means Grantham has to rely on them knowing how to play many positions. “Really, every position is open. We have kids that work hard, so really we’re just looking to have six kids at a time on the field that know what they’re doing and do it to the best of their ability,” he said.
In spite of the team having about a year in the system experience now, there are still items that will need some work.
“The biggest thing is we have to keep repping fundamentals. We can always improve on blocking and tackling, and just fine-tuning things they already do well,” he said.
This is especially true as the recent redistricting of schools by the University Interscholastic League has put Southland in a completely new Region.
They will be in Region II for the next two years, when UIL will realign again.
“We are in a District with Motley County (in Matador), Jayton, Patton Springs and Guthrie. It will be a very tough District, but all of them should have teams so we can have a full schedule,” he said.
One of the teams in the new District – Motley County High School- was the 2019 1A Six-Man Division II State Runner-Up.
The team has been following all COVID guidelines, such as wearing masks when required inside, separate water bottles, sanitizing the weight room and other monitoring guidelines to protect students.
Grantham added he was excited to see what the team does this season.
Southland’s first game of the season will be at Cotton Center on Aug. 27, and will begin at 7:30 p.m., subject to any changes. The date is the first day any class 1A-4A school can start their season.
Classes 5A and 6A will start their seasons five weeks later.