The Douglas Bulldogs and their new coach Hunter Long wrapped up their first official week of practice Saturday.
Looking back on the week, coach Long stated it was a good opening week and the players seem to be adjusting to the new routine.
The Bulldogs had 5:30 a.m. walkthrough sessions every day last week including the first day of school. They then returned to practice that afternoon for another two-hour practice.
On Friday the Bulldogs were under the lights at Armando DeLucas Stadium for practice. It was Long’s first time being on the field as a head coach under the lights on a Friday night.
“What a really cool feeling that was,” he said. “It was awesome. Friday night, under the lights is a different atmosphere, a whole different environment. The kids seemed to really enjoy it.”
An estimated 25-30 fans were even in the bleachers checking out the Bulldogs practice.
The coach speculated, depending on how things go in practice this week, the Bulldogs could be back at the stadium, under the lights, again this Friday night.
The coach said he picked up about 20 additional players throughout the week and expects even a few more to come out this week bringing his participation numbers to over 60.
“The main thing we have been working on is the fundamentals,” Long said. “We want these guys to get a feel for the kind of culture we’re trying to create here. “
The coach added it feels great to now be practicing with a purpose.
“We’re now counting down the days to our scrimmage and working on some different schemes,” he said adding after the scrimmage all preparation turns towards getting ready for the season opener.
Coach Long said he has been really impressed by the positive attitude displayed in practice and believes the players are buying in to what he and his assistant coaches are implementing.
“Our team leadership has been really stepping up,” he said. “We have some really good kids out this year.”
Long, who also replaced Ron Ellsworth as the P.E. teacher at Douglas High School, said it has now sunk in that he is the head football coach of the Douglas Bulldogs, a team he once played for and gave hours of sweat and some blood.
“For me it’s all football now,” he said. “I want to do all that I can to get these players ready to be successful.”
The Bulldogs scrimmage Morenci on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. at Armando de Lucas Stadium. There is no admission fee to the scrimmage.
Douglas opens its season eight days later with a 7 p.m. home game Aug. 23 against Tanque Verde.
Between now and the scrimmage the coach said his will continue to work on different schemes he would like to see used when the regular season starts.
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 7 and ending on Wednesday, Aug. 14, the Bulldogs will be out in the community selling Gold Cards, which is a fundraiser for the team.
Each card costs $20 and includes discounts to various local businesses.
The coach is asking for the community to show its support as his team sells the Gold Cards.
“I think we’re all anxious for the games to start,” Coach Long said. “I know I am.”