Brook Hill Football Puts Own Spin On Two-A-Days Camp With Madden + Banana Sundaes
BULLARD -- Coaches that swore by salt tablets and withheld water at practice are rolling in their graves.
Brook Hill head football coach Bobby Brasher and volunteers were handing their guys sundaes after Wednesday evening's two-a-days practice. Banana sundaes.
There's also an enthusiastic attitude toward video games, high-definition TVs and playing cards within the vacant on-campus dorms the Guard football team took over Wednesday and will occupy through Friday.
The Junction Boys have a bone to pick with how things are done in 2015. But this is just one part of the old ball coach's plan ahead of a challenging season.
"It's just a way to do what they do at a lot of the colleges," Brasher said. "Texas brings them in and has a big brother program like Ohio State. We just try to copy some of the things that the successful programs do to help our kids get better, be better and prepare them for the long season ahead."
There aren't any complaints coming from the team. Even after Brasher demanded all cell phones and car keys for the timespan.
It's Madden, movies and poker until midnight around here as players scattered across East Texas -- and even abroad -- converge to make to make up the Guard team.
"It's awesome because we get to be around each other," senior receiver Seth Brasher, the head coach's son, said. "Especially when camp starts, you'll hit a wall. It'll probably come tomorrow night. But you're with everybody else and, at the end of the day, this is all we've got. Just the guys that we have.
"In one room, you'll go in and they've got card games going on. In the other one, a big NCAA Football tournament going on. It'll put like half the team in one room just getting wild over an NCAA game on the screen. It's awesome. It's a big team building thing we look forward to."
Of course, there's real work to do as well. And a legacy to uphold.
Brook Hill has put together the best string of East Texas private school success through the decade. Expectations are high again after an injury-riddled 2014 team clawed all the way to the TAPPS Division II state quarterfinals without three of five players identified last preseason as major assets.
There's also the responsibility to defend Texas high school football's reputation. Brook Hill opens the season in four weeks at home against St. Bernard's Catholic from Eureka, Calif.
So it's not Camp Cupcake.
"We're really looking forward to the bowl game," Bobby Brasher said. "There's a lot of excitement around here. It's on a Thursday, so there will be a lot of people that will come and see us play on our campus that normally wouldn't be coming because they have a favorite team or a school that they follow. We're happy about that. Getting a chance to show off Brook Hill and play in front of some new people."
On the field at Herrington Stadium, the Guard flashed promise they'll be what they've become known for once again. Even if it was the final day of just helmets and shorts.
Seth Brasher is the primary name among a seasoned receivers group. He caught 45 passes for 868 yards and 15 touchdowns last year before tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee seven games into the campaign.
The senior is back to full health.
The offensive line is adequately sized for the TAPPS Division II level. Bobby Brasher also suspects the running backs will be able to keep opposing defenses on their heels.
The Guard will break in a new quarterback, senior McCray Fletcher, but passing has not been an issue here. Will Weathers rode his career onward to Abilene Christian University and Grant Hanks rewrote the school's record book last season.
"It's been great so far," Fletcher said. "Especially this week with the team bonding going and throwing with the receivers. I've gotten to learn from some great guys in the past. Hopefully I can put up the same numbers as them if not better."
Brook Hill's defensive secondary, naturally, is another known quantity before the pads come on later this week.
What isn't known is just how good the Guard's District II could be.
The team is playing preseason second fiddle to state finalist Dallas Christian and state semifinalist Tyler Bishop Gorman. Tyler All Saints also returns most of its competitive team from a season ago. Tyler Grace Community is young, but it's always a threat.
Carrollton Prince of Peace and Frisco Legacy Christian also could emerge down the district stretch.
It's all ahead after three days and two nights in the dorms.
For now, however, it's just about the Guard.
"We're really trying to immerse them into football," Bobby Brasher said. "Right now, they're walking everywhere together or we're on a bus. They're totally together and there's no distractions. It's about team building and football right now."