With the recent announcement from the University Interscholastic League, which gave the go ahead for fall sports to return for Texas high schools, Dumas head football coach Aaron Dunnam is understandably excited, along with his players and coaching staff.
On Wednesday, July 22, Dumas athletics continued with their strength and conditioning program, which began back on June 8. The announcement from UIL on Tuesday raised everyone's spirits just a little bit more on Wednesday as the student-athletes continued their work in the program.
"The energy was really good today," Dunnam said. "But the energy's always been good. … Our energy's been good out here since June 8. But you can tell something's a little bit different today, and it's just the news that UIL gave us that we're for sure going to play football. And so the energy was really good today. The excitement was good, and we're just ready for Aug. 3 when we get to start practices."
Coach Dunnam said that Tuesday was a little erratic.
"Yesterday was crazy. It was like realignment day all over again, maybe even worse," he said.
The UIL gave the go ahead for 1A to 4A schools to begin practices as early as Monday, Aug. 3, with the regular season to begin on Aug. 27. With 5A and 6A schools being pushed back to start the season in late September, he said there are always challenges in creating a schedule. However, the schedule actually became a little more manageable because there were three out-of-state teams – California, New Mexico and Kansas – he was going to have to play before the final announcement came through on Tuesday from UIL.
"That affected us schedule-wise," Dunnam said. "We had some of those 5A schools in those spots that we were going to play."
He said they worked hard on Tuesday calling around and arranging games to complete the schedule. According to Dunnam, the regular season is complete except for one game.
"I picked up some people that we always played," Dunnam said. "We got Perryton back on the schedule. I mean that's a game that's been played for 82 years. And it wasn't going to be played up to this point. So we're excited for that. And then I was able to pick up some more local schools that are around here, a little bit closer to us."
Additionally, he said the schedule reconfiguration allowed him to get more home games. Previously, he only had two home games on the schedule.
Dunnam feels good about the schedule and about the season. He is more than ready to get to work. With the realignment last year, nothing changed for Region 1, District 3-4A football. It remains a four-team district with Dumas, Canyon, Pampa and Hereford. As always, the district will be a challenge though. Canyon, Pampa and Hereford have strong programs.
"Canyon will be a really good team, returned a lot of players. They'll be really good," he said. "We'll open up with district at Canyon."
He said Hereford will be the second game in district play and the Demons will wrap up district at home with Pampa.
"The most important thing is that we're going to play football. Up until yesterday (Tuesday), we didn't know," Dunnam said. "The UIL says we're playing football here in the state of Texas and so the main thing is we're going to get to play. I'm excited. We got a renewed energy with that information (UIL announcement), and so we got to go to work, prepare and get ready for the season."