And the quest for a third straight championship begins.
Lifegate Christian has won back-to-back state titles in six-man football, the first coming two years ago in TAPPS, and the second coming last year in its new league, the Texas Christian Athletic League.
First-year coach John Stout is ready to get the season going.
“I’ve been itching since day one, Saturday can’t come quick enough,” Stout said.
Lifegate begins the season against UIL Class 1A High Island on Saturday night at the Emery/Weiner School in Houston, which is hosting a number of six-man teams over three days of football.
“It’s a big kick-off deal, where they invited a bunch of teams,” Stout said. “There are games going on all day today and there’s three games on Saturday. It’s a real nice field.”
The coach got video from High Island last week, and noted some of the strengths of the Cardinals.
“We’re going to have to watch out for their run,” Stout said. “They’ve got a couple of big linemen that can push people off the ball, but they can also get out for passes.”
The running back for the Cardinals caught his eye on film.
“They’ve got a pretty good runner, but if we can keep him inside and contain him, he doesn’t do much,” Stout said. “He’s not a north and south runner, he’s an east and west runner.
“We’ll have to keep an eye out for the run, but I think we’ve got it covered with our basic defense.”
The coach got his players together for a film session on Monday.
“We watched it with the boys on Monday to see what they thought, and I’ve watched it every day, over and over, to make sure we have all our ducks in a row,” Stout said.
Fitness has been an emphasis for the coach in the practices leading up to their first game.
“We’ve been continuing our conditioning, to make sure we can last all game,” Stout said. “We’ve been teaching a lot of ‘sheep dog.’ In six-man you want to contain the runner, so you try and ‘sheep dog’ them into one area so you can catch them.”
The coach has been impressed with the effort of his squad in the scrimmages and practice sessions leading up to the first game.
“Everything is looking good,” Stout said. “The boys are putting in the work, coming out ready to go and focused.”
With the rules in six-man, where an exchange must take place before the quarterback can run or throw, Stout said that he’s yet to name an actual starting quarterback.
Quinten Shellnut, Barson Schmidt and Luke Landin will all likely see time at quarterback Saturday night.
“You need to have two guys that can throw it in six-man, so it’s still a mixture of the three,” Stout said. “Once we get into the game and figure out which one is working better, that’s probably the one we will stick with.
“They all have different strengths, so if they’ve got something the other team can’t handle, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Scrimmages against the Austin Royals and New Braunfels Christian in the last two weeks went according to plan.
“We started out with Austin and did really well against them,” Stout said. “We hung with New Bruanfels, a much bigger school, so they knew we gave them some good competition.”
The players are ready to play the first contest of the season, Stout said.
“They’ve got to play two scrimmages, but they know it’s nothing like a full game,” he said. “They’re ready to go.”