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JCHS begins official preseason practice

The JCHS Football Team officially began practicing in pads on Monday with some holes to fill and a chance to erase a 2-8 campaign in 2010.
The Longhorns are ready to kick it off, according to head coach Mike Atwood.
“We're looking forward to getting the season started and getting practice going,” he said. “We have a bunch of good kids who have worked hard in the off-season. With every new season you're very optimistic and we're very young and we're working hard.”
Despite winning only two games, the Longhorns did lose players like Danny Herman, Mark Jennings, Austin Humphrey, Jason Steele and Eric Arnold that were key contributors.
“We lost almost every bit of our offense,” Atwood said. “It's going to be tough, but we're pretty optimistic about our boys.”'
Unlike some years, the freshmen and sophomores have an opportunity to be able to step in and maybe steal a spot.
“It's been awhile since we've had some people come in and play as a freshman, but some of these boys have a chance and we're looking for an athlete. We have about half the spots we're pretty sure and another half we have an idea, but the first two weeks of practice are going to be big for the boys.”
The Longhorns are conditioning in the morning and then doing a condition/working on plays split in the evening.
“The way our team is now we're going to have to be in shape because a lot the kids are going both ways,” Atwood said.
JCHS has a tall task ahead of it to begin the season as the Longhorns travel to Tennessee High.
“It's going to be a tough game and it probably got a little bit tougher with a new coach coming in there and he I'm sure wants to get off to a good start,” Atwood said. “We fully expect to play good and have a chance to win the game. That will let us know really early how things are going to be.”
The Longhorns play Hampton twice again and also have a home/away series with J.J. Kelly and J.I. Burton. It wasn't the ideal schedule for Atwood to have.
“We dropped a 1A and added a 5A and we wanted to just play Hampton once and Tennessee High wasn't ideal either,” Atwood said. “I'm hoping in the future the new bleachers will help get us some people to play, just to tell you the truth a lot of people didn't want ot come here and sit on the home side.”
The Longhorns competed in a 7-on-7 Tournament at Cloudland two weeks ago and it gave the Longhorns a chance to work on the passing game.
“We played pretty good,” Atwood said. “We beat Tri-Cities Christian, lost to Hampton and tied Sullivan East. We played pretty good and I thought we did well our first time out. It's like playing flag football and we don't have the skill people to play that kind of football. We weren't too concerned about how it turned out.”
With the exception of the early morning conditioning, the boys are ready to go.
“They're not looking forward to being here at 6:30 and running, but other than that they're ready,” Atwood said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Look for The Tomahawk's Longhorn Football Section on Aug. 17.