NEW CHAPEL HILL - It's difficult to pick out who the starting quarterback will be for the Chapel Hill Bulldogs. During Tuesday's two-a-day morning session all four were throwing back and forth and each was delivering perfect, tight-fitting spirals.
Despite not having a "returning starter" at the position, the Bulldogs have the luxury of several options, starting with junior transfer Caleb Wages and incoming sophomore Jaxon Heckle. Wages played for Bishop Gorman last season as a backup, completing 6 of 7 passes for 74 yards. Heckle helped lead the freshman team last year and was a varsity starter for the baseball team as an infielder.
The Bulldogs will begin full-pad workouts on Friday followed by scrimmages against Terrell and Lindale to determine who their quarterback will be for the opener against Wills Point.
Overall through two days of workouts, head coach Thomas Sitton said he likes what he is seeing from his team.
"We were in great shape and the kids came in ready to go; it's a lot of fun getting back out here on this new turf that we've put down and have just had a blast," said Sitton, who added the Bulldogs had approximately 120 kids, incoming freshmen to seniors, excited to get to started on Monday morning.
"They are a bunch of hard workers who are just going to find a way to play good football each and every Friday night."
Practice continued Tuesday with a 7:15 a.m. start and continued - with numerous breaks for hydration - until just after 11 a.m. Temperatures were bearable at the start of the practice, but things continued to heat up as the minutes passed.
Senior linebacker LaDarian Hudson said he and his teammates can cope with the heat as the Bulldogs push for an improvement to last year's 3-8 season.
"Day 1 is always rough (with the heat), but Day 2 has been better," said Hudson, who was first-team all district last season. "All we have to do physically is just come out and compete, but then we also have to hydrate, so we are not cramping up."
Added senior receiver Aden Martinez: "It's going to be hot regardless; you can't change that. But we have to come out here and hydrate and work hard every day."
The Bulldogs were able to scratch out two wins in district a year ago and garner the fourth and final playoff spot with a 2-3 record, but were unable to hang with Silsbee in a 67-46 bi-district loss.
Chapel Hill returns two starters on offense and four on defense. Along with Hudson, who finished with 77 tackles, the Bulldogs defense welcomes back senior safety Cale Caruthers (86 tackles), senior defensive back DeCorian Horton (42 tackles) and 6-2, 195-pound linebacker Kaleb Golden. The offensive returners consist of 6-4, 280-pound junior offensive lineman Jose Arreguin and senior tailback Andrian Miner.
The Bulldogs open the season at home on Friday, Aug. 26, against Wills Point.
"We will have to grow up, but we have the kids to do it," Sitton said. "These guys have had an unbelievable offseason and summer and we've got some great senior leadership. I think they are going to do a great job of leading this football team in the right direction."
Notes: Chapel Hill will scrimmage Terrell on Friday, Aug. 12, at Bulldog Stadium with JV at 5:30 p.m. and varsity at 7 p.m. ... Chapel Hill will scrimmage at Lindale on Friday, Aug. 19, with JV at 5:30 p.m. and varsity at 7 p.m.
2016 Chapel Hill Football Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 26 Wills Point 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Whitehouse 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 Tatum 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Gladewater 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Henderson* 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 Kilgore* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Center* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 Bullard* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Palestine* 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 Carthage* 7:30 p.m.
* - District 9-4A Division I