As the Tolar Rattlers prepare for what will be a challenging fall football schedule, they are coming off their best summer of 7-on-7 football.
The Rattlers fell a little short of their goal of reaching the 7-on-7 State Tournament, but they were successful in almost every other way.
The Rattlers posted an 18-8 record. They were 7-6 in tournaments and 11-2 in Tuesday night league play.
“We had a good summer. We got a lot of work in,” said Tolar head coach Mike Franklin.
“We’d have loved to have gone down there (to state), but a little rest (before fall practice) isn’t going to hurt us either. We got a lot of things accomplished, got a lot of reps in.”
Teams that did not hold spring practice – which Class 2A teams do not – can begin fall workouts on Aug. 4.
Tolar is in a new district this season, 7-2A Division I. It includes 2013 Class A Division I state finalist Hico, Class A regional finalist Goldthwaite, and Class A regional semifinalist De Leon.
And, of course, the Rattlers went two rounds into the Class 2A playoffs last season.
High school coaches cannot coach 7-on-7 summer football teams. Typically, parents and/or former players will do the coaching.
In Tolar, the coaches this summer were Paul Ryan, Warner Endsley and Mark Huckabee, whose sons Hunter, Dakota and Cody are Rattlers.
While they can’t coach, Franklin and other coaches do watch the 7-on-7 teams closely so they can make adjustments come the fall.
And Franklin liked what he saw.
“We hung in there and played with people, even though most of the teams we played were much bigger than us,” said Franklin.
“The kids were disappointed they didn’t make state, but they did very well against mostly teams that are going to be playing above 2A this season.”
The Rattlers came closest to qualifying for state in a tournament at Tarleton State University. They went through pool play 3-0, but lost to Sweetwater in the semifinals of bracket play.
“The Tarleton coach said, ‘I’ve been watching you guys for years, and where you were three years ago and where you are now is a big difference,’” said Franklin.
“Now we’re ready to see how all that pays off come the real season.”
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