WHITEHOUSE - Whitehouse head football coach Adam Cook sees Wildcats baseball coach Derrick Jenkins most mornings at the junior high.
Before the rest of the state caught on, Cook knew the Whitehouse baseball team had the potential for a long playoff run last spring.
With quarterbacks Tanner Roach and Patrick Miner, among others, playing key roles on the diamond, Cook opted to forgo spring practice to get an extra week in the fall when he'd have his entire team available.
"We knew that they would be making a long run so rather than fighting that battle - we've got a new defensive coordinator as well - so it just made more sense for us to not do spring football and then to be able to get this early start," Cook said. "We're excited about it."
Though Cook was able to predict a long run from the baseball team, it wasn't a given. The Wildcats needed a strong finish to take fourth in district before becoming the first No. 4 seed to reach the state tournament.
"There probably were some times when we were starting to wonder but we knew how good Ryan Walls was going to be and Mason House, Roach and Miner, all of them," Cook said. "We knew they had potential."
The 2016 Wildcats took the field for the first time on Monday with a morning practice before hitting the weight room to start two-a-days on the first day allowed by UIL.
Whitehouse will hope to make the most of the earlier start - schools that participated in spring football begin Aug. 8 - to bounce back from a disappointing 2-8 campaign in 2015.
Cook said the Wildcats had strong participation in summer workouts across the board, with more than 250 boys and girls from seventh to 12th grade working out at the school.
Some, like running back/linebacker Khyree Key, trained at APEC.
"It feels amazing (to be back on the field)," Key said. "This is my senior year; we're trying to go all out.
"(We're) getting everybody fired up and on the same mindset. A lot of people are down thinking about last year. We can't have that."
Another advantage to Whitehouse's early start is more time to work on the installation of a 4-2-5 defense under new coordinator Marcus Gold, who wasn't at the school in the spring.
Cook said that while it's still early and things will change once the players begin wearing pads on Friday, the defense is showing signs of improvement after allowing 42.5 points per game last year.
"I think we're on track, there's no doubt about that," Cook said.
By starting Monday instead of next week, the Wildcats also get two scrimmages instead of one. They'll play Kaufman on Aug. 12 before facing Gladewater in the final tune-up.
Whitehouse opens the season Aug. 26 against Hallsville at Wildcat Stadium.
Cook said he was pleased with how the team looked on the first day of practice and he'll hope the early start will pay dividends once the season begins.
"Just by the excitement, how fresh they were, I think we made the right choice," Cook said.
2016 Whitehouse Football Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 26 Hallsville 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 Chapel Hill 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Carthage 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Sulphur Springs 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 Kennedale 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Ennis* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 Jacksonville* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Nacogdoches* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28 Corsicana* 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 at Lindale* 7:30 p.m.
* - District 17-5A