Football season kicks off Aug. 28. The Calvert Trojans are still trying to complete their schedule.
Things are not as dire as they once appeared, however. After district realignment was announced in February, when most schedules were agreed upon, the Trojans were seeking five opponents.
The numbers didn't add up for most teams. Calvert, which plays 6-man football, had a lot of talented players back. Many other teams didn't have a lot.
"It seemed like a lot of schools graduated a lot of guys this season and they didn't want to expose their young players to playing Calvert," Trojans coach Coylin Grimes said. "In you're in 6-man, you can't step up a classification. It may kill the players and coach but we will do what we can do to fill the schedule."
Calvert had to withdraw from the Hico Six-Man Super Saturday when no one would agree to play them. The Trojans have long been a staple of that season-opening extravaganza.
"They had someone cancel at Richland Springs [which hosts a classic] and we are going there to play Kopperl, and that helped," Grimes said.
Prospective games with former opponents Coolidge and Greenville Christian were dropped early. Richland Springs, Apple Springs and first-year six-man school Oakwood declined invitations.
"We're going to have about 25 guys on our teams, so we shopped the idea of having our JV play some varsity teams," said Grimes, "Nobody wanted to do that."
Calvert's strength of schedule may suffer against some scheduled private schools, and the travel bill will almost certainly be high. Calvert will drive to Ladonia on Oct. 10 to play Fannindel, a non-district trip of 225 miles each way.
"Our administration understands," Grimes said. "They want us to complete our schedule."
It's not as if Calvert is a team known for running up the score. Around the state, you'll see plenty of blowouts. But even if Calvert wins by the 45-point mercy rule, the point difference rarely drifts very far above that.
Crowell, which moved from 11-man to 6-man ball a year ago, is a likely opponent for the first game of September, if the teams can find a neutral site for the next two seasons.
Rockdale moves on: When the Rockdale Tigers signed a contract to play Austin Johnston in football games for the next two years, they had no idea that Johnston would go out of business.
The Texas Education Agency ordered Johnston's shutdown after five years of low test scores.
It looks like there may be another, as-yet-unnamed, school to take Johnston's place, but Rockdale couldn't afford to wait. It, like each member of the district, had been burned before by a mistake on enrollment figures two years earlier when Johnston was bumped up to 4A. That left everyone in the district, including Rockdale, scrambling.
The Tigers scrambled better than most this time around. In Johnston's place is a Thursday night game, Sept. 18 against Midland Christian at Waco ISD. The Tigers lost a home game, but the neutral-site replacement will almost certainly be a step up in competition. Johnston has been one of the most downtrodden programs in Austin.
Midland Christian, which has played 18 UIL teams over the last four seasons, is 38-12 during that time, including a 7-5 campaign last year in TAPPS Division II.
Major changes in Milano: After just one season as head coach at Milano, football coach Brad Jones has departed for Iraan.
Although he took over the head position a year ago, Jones had been with Milano for 13 seasons. He made the most of his lone season directing the team, leading Milano to its first 11-man playoff victory, a 42-0 bi-district win over Leakey.
In his new job, Jones will be assistant football coach and head basketball coach.
Milano acted quickly to bring in former Thorndale assistant Tim Berg. Thorndale has been and remains a district opponent.
It's the first head coaching job for Berg, who spent four years at Southlake Carroll and three years at Waco Midway.
Berg also coached the Thorndale softball team to its best season ever this past spring, leading it to the regional finals before falling to eventual state champion Shiner.
After Jay Wise resigned as Milano's athletic director to take another position within the school, Berg added the AD title to his job description. He will share those duties with principal Greg Decker. Berg will also be the assistant softball coach to Roxanne Ely.
Burton picks Bremond coordinator: Clinton Smith, the offensive coordinator of Bremond's Class A Division I state finalist football team, took over at Burton.
Burton was 5-5 last season and missed the playoffs for the 13th straight season.
Bremond loses Smith and will have to face Burton's former coach, Brady Conger, who is now an assistant at Mart. The Panthers, a longtime power in Class 2A, move to Class A next season.
Bremond is one of two Brazos Valley teams that will help Mart christen its new artificial-turf field. The Tigers will play a district contest there Oct. 24.
Lexington will be the first opponent to face Mart on the new field, Sept. 5.
Three for BV: On the slim chance that you haven't already picked up a copy of Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, the Brazos Valley almost cornered the market on high school cover boys.
Madisonville running back Chris Whaley got the 3A honor, Lexington tackle Michael Brown was front-and-center for 2A, and Calvert running back/linebacker Travis Walker, in six-man, complete the trio of area players recognized.
- David Campbell's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.