Ellison, Harker Heights, Shoemaker and Killeen high schools have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming football season. All of them are hopeful to improve their performance from last season.

Head coach Todd Wright is in his second year with the Ellison Eagles. He believes that they have the talent to do well this season, but need to tighten the loose ends and not make mistakes.

“We’ve got to get better at football. We’ve got fast kids and strong kids. We’ve made too many mistakes and we’ve got to fix that and become cleaner at playing football,” Wright said.

The players and coaches spent more time in the off-season practicing and becoming better at the sport. Wright believes that experience is their strength.

“We’ve got a good senior class, and we ought to be explosive on offense. We got bigger linemen this year. Really, a bigger senior class and more experience. Both coaching staff and player wise,” Wright said.

Killeen head coach Neal Searcy is returning for his fifth season with the Roos. With more experience and a new offensive coordinator, Searcy believes the offense has improved from last season.

“We’re bring back some experience,” Searcy said. “Whenever you got returners like that, that come back ... that started last year that should make for a better year.”

The Roos have big expectations and are taking the season one step at a time.

“We talk about three seasons here. Season one is non-district, season two is district and season three is the playoffs. Every year our goal is to be in the state playoff. That hasn’t changed so our expectation is to be one of the top four teams in this district and go into the state playoffs,” Searcy said.

In his seventh season with the Harker Heights Knights, head coach Jerry Edwards has been working hard with the team to get ready for this year’s challenge.

They have been focusing on improving their offense this season, hoping to be more productive on that side of the ball.

“This year we focused on throwing the football, running the football, being a balanced attack. Our kids have really stepped up and done a good job. We feel a lot more confident in our offense,” Edwards said.

Edward’s goal for the Knights is the same as it is every season — to make a playoff appearance.  

“We take one game at a time, but at the end of the year we want to be one of the teams in the playoffs representing our district,” Edwards said.

The Shoemaker head coach Toby Foreman is in his third go-around with the Grey Wolves. He believes the team this year is more cohesive and better understands the different elements of the game.

“I think they’re more together as a family. I think they understand the offense, defense and special teams that we’ve been putting in here for two years,” Foreman said.

They were allowed more practices this pre-season and the Grey Wolves showed great commitment over the summer.

“These kids showed up all summer. I’ve never had kids show up in the numbers that we had this year. I was really impressed with it,” Foreman said. “We stayed around 80/82 percent all summer.”

His goal is for the Grey Wolves to consistently appear in the playoffs.

“We need to get back to where we are a regular playoff team, winning close games, and things like that,” Foreman said.

With all of the teams’ hard work the 2019-2020 high school football season is sure to be an interesting one. District play starts soon with Killeen playing at Midway, Sept. 13; Ellison playing at Waco, Sept. 13; Harker Heights playing at home against Temple, Sept. 13; and Shoemaker playing at Temple, Sept. 20.