Mike Hall can't believe it's almost here. The summer's almost over, coaches meetings start in a week and two-a-days begin on Aug. 4.
Football is around the corner, and Hall has reason to be excited.
For the first time since taking the All Saints job in spring 2012, Hall and the Trojans will be competing in a district with a chance to go to the playoffs.
The last two seasons saw All Saints compete as an independent, opting out of one of the state's toughest districts. The Trojans are back now, competing in the still-tough TAPPS Div. II-District 2.
All Saints' hiatus from league play has produced the desired effects: numbers are up and optimism abounds. The program will have about 45 players this fall, a high for Hall's three-year tenure.
"For first time we don't have any freshmen that we have to play on Friday nights," Hall said. "That's a great thing."
Last year the Trojans had just three seniors and finished 1-9 while struggling with a plethora injuries. While they have all of four seniors this time around, Hall doesn't expect injuries to be as big of an issue.
With the number of players available, Hall hopes to play 11 different players on each side of the ball; limiting the amount any one player will play both ways.
"That should help us with the injuries that happened from fatigue," Hall said. "I just believe that because we're not overly fast, if we can keep our legs fresh and not have negative plays, we can stay close and have a chance to win at the end of the game."
All Saints returns to a district that will provide plenty of challenges for a program looking to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Dallas Christian was a state semifinalist last year while newcomer Frisco Legacy Christian went to the final four in Division III a year ago.
Additionally, the Trojans will again play Bishop Gorman as district rivals while reigniting the rivalry with Bullard Brook Hill. All Saints will start a new rivalry when it plays Grace Community for the first time on Oct. 17.
"It ought to be great," Hall said. "It gives us that same excitement as when we played T.K. the last two years."
To prepare for the district slate, Hall scheduled Timpson, Overton and Carlisle, hoping his team can gain some confidence and acclimate themselves to the competition they'll face in league play.
"That's only good for us to see that speed early that we'll see with Grace and Brook Hill," Hall said. "We've got to get used to running with people."
Despite the challenge ahead, Hall can't wait to get started.
"We're just excited about being back in district," Hall said. "I'm excited about when I have my preseason meeting with parents, getting to talk to them about not going out of town on Thanksgiving."
All Saints 2014 Football Schedule
Aug. 29 Timpson
Sept. 5 Overton
Sept. 12 Carlisle
Sept. 19 Open
Sept. 26 at Prince of Peace*
Oct. 3 Frisco Legacy Christian*
Oct. 10 at Bishop Gorman*
Oct. 17 Grace Community*
Oct. 24 Dallas Shelton*
Oct. 31 at Dallas Christian*
Nov. 7 at Brook Hill*
* — TAPPS Div. II District 2