Panther football practice starts Aug. 1
By MIKE SCHOEFFEL
The 15th annual Jerry Vance Football Camp has officially wrapped up, signaling a shift to the next turn of the football wheel — summer practice.
Summer practice kicks off for the Panthers on Aug. 1, four days after Vance concluded another successful camp for rising seventh through ninth graders. Many of those ninth graders will be on the field when practice gets underway on Monday, as the Panthers set out to defend the district and area championships they won last season.
The aim of summer practice — much like the goal of the Jerry Vance Football Camp — is to establish fundamentals and ensure that the players are prepared to carry on Liberty Hill’s strong football tradition.
The Panthers have won three consecutive district titles and two consecutive area titles. They’ve qualified for the postseason in 12 of the last 16 seasons, winning state titles in 2006 and 2007.
“We take a lot of pride in what we’ve done, and what we continue to do, here,” said head coach Jerry Vance. “The kids know that, and they take it very seriously.”
The Panthers will have about a month to prepare for the season opener at home against La Grange on Aug. 26. Liberty Hill will be out for revenge against the Leopards, which won last year’s season opener 35-20.
Vance’s crew will have three simulated games during August to prepare for the 10-game regular season schedule. An intra-squad scrimmage is set for Aug. 6, with a home scrimmage to follow against Alvarado on Aug. 13. The Panthers wrap up the preseason schedule with a scrimmage at Taylor on Aug. 19.
Liberty Hill finished last season with a 10-3 record. The Panthers defeated Burnet to win the district title and Gonzales to win the area title. Their season came to an end in the regional round, when they lost to La Vega, 6-0, in overtime.
La Vega finished 16-0 and won the 4A state championship.