KNOX CITY, TX (KAUZ) - High school football practice began Monday for most Texoma teams, and our Training Camp Road Trip continues with our first stop in Class 1A Division I, the Knox City Greyhounds!
Coming off a deep playoff run, they're looking to repeat as District 4 champions, but there will be some challenges.
"I think the biggest thing for us is we're going to be a lot younger," said 2nd-year head coach Caleb Callaway. His Greyhounds went to the state quarterfinals a year ago, falling to Happy. They lost a bunch of seniors, but a deep roster will be a big advantage for them.
"If everybody shows up, we should be close to around 30 [players]," he said. "Last year I think we ended up having 24. We lost seven but we're bringing fourteen 8th-graders up, so our numbers are going to be a little bit better if everybody plays."
After coming from Rising Star, he says it's a big difference-maker.
"It's awesome," he said. "You know I coached at D2 before I came to Knox City, so I know the other side of that table. So it's really nice to have a lot of kids out there to play."
Those 17 returning players got a lot of extra practice time with all of the playoff games, as well. Coach Callaway said Brady Hawkins will be one of the stars on the team, one of three seniors on what will be a junior-heavy team.
"A lot of those guys got some reps last year, so they're going to be guys we rely on a lot of offense and defense," Callaway said. "And then we've got some young guys coming up, freshmen that I think some of those guys will be ready."
A year ago, the Greyhounds went 3-4 against a brutal non-district schedule before running off five straight wins to reach the regional finals. This year, all but one of those non-district opponents are the same.
"One of our toughest preseason opponents is May," he said. "We've got them, I think, week 6 or 7. They're going to give us a pretty good test."
After that, they'll look to repeat as district champs, but coach Callaway says Paducah is the likely preseason favorite.
"Those first 2 games that we have, Rotan and Spur, those are going to be big games for us because we're young and they have a few more back," he said. "So we're going to have to go out and compete and look for that opportunity to win those games, and set up a district championship game with Paducah."
He hopes his team can get stronger as they go through the season, just like last year.
"We'll be young starting out but I think by the time we get there, we'll be ready to play," he said. "All those 3 teams are going to be tough, if you don't show up and play."
The Greyhounds open their season once again at the Jayton Gridiron Classic, facing Water Valley on Saturday, September 2nd at 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, we'll start our final 6-man district, 12-1A Div. I, with Gold-Burg and Saint Jo!
2017 Knox City Greyhounds Schedule
Sept. 2 vs Water Valley, 12:30 p.m. in Jayton
Sept. 8 vs Rule, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Crowell, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs Throckmorton, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs Guthrie, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Newcastle, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at May, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 BYE
Oct. 27 vs Rotan, 7:30 p.m.*
Nov. 3 vs Spur, 7:30 p.m.*
Nov. 10 at Paducah, 7:30 p.m.*