Breckenridge Texan

Coaches get first look at Buckaroos’ 2023 football teams during first week of practice; ‘Watermelon Scrimmage’ set for Saturday

Coaches get first look at Buckaroos’ 2023 football teams during first week of practice; ‘Watermelon Scrimmage’ set for Saturday
August 04
12:32 2023

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Head football coach and athletic director Casey Pearce and his staff got a first look at this year’s Breckenridge High School varsity and junior varsity teams when they hit the football field on Monday for their first practice of the 2023 football season.

Although they haven’t had a chance yet to really evaluate the players and determine who will play what positions, Pearce said he and his coaching staff are excited with this year’s group of players and are happy with what they saw on the practice field Monday.

The varsity team has five returning lettermen this year, along with a lot of new faces. Pearce said with last year’s graduation they lost a lot of good talent, including players that people in the community had been following for the last four years. But, he said, they are returning some players this year that can fill those roles.

The 2023 Breckenridge High School varsity football team started practice for the season on Monday, July 31. Click here to see more photos from the practice. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“I think it will be a no-name team until we all kind of put an identity with it,” he said on Monday. “I told our coaches it kind of a looks like one of those special operations pictures where they fuzz out their faces in the picture, and then all of a sudden, we start seeing who it is and as they come in to their own. But, I thought the numbers were decent today. I mean, we finished the year (last year) with about 54 (players). We started with 64 this year. So we’re where you need to be. The ones that are here are the ones that have stuck to the off-season and done the summer conditioning and done the things they need to do to get ready.”

Asked about his overall assessment of the first day of practice and whether he saw anything that disappointed him, Pearce said, “Absolutely not.” He said he was excited about the kids’ understanding of where they need to be routine-wise and being able to do the basic stuff over and over.

“And, you know, I didn’t say it today, but if players will lead this team, we’ll be a better football team; if the coaches have to lead it in every step, then we’re gonna be average,” he said. “But what I saw today is players knowing what the expectations are from segment to segment. They could go out there and look at that stadium clock and know where we need to be in practice. So that’s exciting to me. It’s top to bottom; even our freshmen understand, we go to offense, this is what we do. We go to defense, this is what we do…kind of self sufficient almost.”

Changes from Last year

As far as the team’s defensive and offensive strategy this year, Pearce said they will stick with their core offense and defense structures. However, he said the team will need to adjust to play to their personnel’s strength.

BISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Casey Pearce, center, and the other Buckaroo coaches got their first look at the 2023 team on Monday. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

He said the coaches haven’t had a chance yet to evaluate where those strengths are yet, but he believes that will likely hinge on their offensive line.

“That’s a young offensive line,” he said. “But from what I saw today, we’re more active than we were a year ago; we can run a little better. And so that’s exciting. I think we can put some pressure on some people.”

Pearce said they had a pretty consistent summer as far as kids coming in for summer strengthening and summer workouts.

“Now, does that mean we made every workout or something like that? no.” he said. “We did have some kids that made every summer workout of the 32 that we had, but, for the most part, kids strung together three and four weeks in a row before they took a vacation or went to a camp or a visitation or something like that. I saw more consistency this year, overall, with high school kids, than I did the last two.”

Pearce said that when the players put their helmets on and head out on to the practice field, he can see a change in some of their attitudes.

“Some of them, when they crawl inside that helmet, are a different animal. And they get to be something they can’t be on the street. And that’s exciting. If we can be a little animalistic and aggressive when we pull that helmet on our head, that would be awesome to continue to see,” he said with a laugh. “And I saw that out of some of them today. It’s just there’s more focus or some maturity showing. A bunch of freshmen aren’t acting goofy like junior high guys. So, we know we’ve got a chance.”

Effect of Four-Day school week

The school district’s switch to a four-day school week this year shouldn’t make much of a difference for the football program because they have already been following a four-day week during the past eight weeks of summer workouts and conditioning, Pearce said.

Once they switch to the four-day week in September, he said, they will start treating game-day Fridays like a Saturday playoff game day.

Coach Mark Young works with the varsity Buckaroos for the first time this season. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“So we’re just gonna stay in routine,” Pearce said. “Bring the kids in at like 10 o’clock, let them have a little breakfast, do our video, meet with their positions; then, if it’s a home game, go to the pep rally downtown. And then, go to lunch and come back whenever we have to come back.

“I think it’s going to recharge the kids,” he continued. “It’s going to give them a rest day; they can sleep a little later. Or they can go hunt and fish. I’m gonna promote them to go do something. Go swing the bat in a batting cage. Get up, move around and come in at 10, eat breakfast with us and we’ll get it rolling.”

He said for Fall sports it will be kind of different. But for Spring sports, Pearce said he thinks it’s going to charge things up because students will get back to Breckenridge late on Thursday night after track meets. “And they’re going to turn around and be able to sleep a little later, get rested, and get ready to play softball and baseball on Friday,” Pearce said.

As for pep rallies this year, Pearce said the idea right now is that they will be held for home games only, except for the earliest games that are scheduled before the four-day week kicks in. He said those pep rallies will in the BHS gym.

Once they start having Fridays off, he said, they will try to have a community pep rally somewhere downtown around the courthouse or the fire station area.

“(We’ll) try to have it in that downtown area, so that we can draw people into that area because our thought is, if we don’t have students on campus, how are we going to get people to the campus? Let’s go to them and treat it more like a homecoming pep rally,” he said.

During the away game weeks, Pearce said, they will probably still have a community send off for the team by driving the team buses around town when heading out to the games. He said since most of the out of town games will require just an hour or a little more of drive time, the send-off times will probably be around 4 p.m. on games days.

Upcoming events

The public can get a look at this year’s Buckaroo Football teams on Saturday, Aug. 5, at their annual watermelon scrimmage at Buckaroo Stadium starting at 11 a.m. Admission to game is free.

Then on Friday, Aug. 18, the public is invited to Buckaroo Stadium for Meet the Bucks at 8 p.m. The event will give the community a chance to meet all of the football players, cross country runners and volleyball athletes, as well as the coaches, cheer team and the BHS marching band. Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in the new drone video of everyone gathered at Buckaroo Stadium with JumboTron in full operation. The video will be placed on the front of the new Breckenridge Independent School District website.

Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery from the first day of practice.

Updated 2023 Buckaroo Football Schedule (Click here to download a PDF of the updated schedule)

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge Head Football Coach Casey Pearce, center, and the other Buckaroo coaches, met with the 2023 varsity and junior varsity football teams for the first practice of the season on Monday, July 31. They will have their annual Media Day and Watermelon Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Buckaroo Stadium. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include the updated 2023 Buckaroo Football schedule provided by Coach Casey Pearce. The schedule was updated to indicate that the Aug. 17 scrimmage will be played in Mineral Wells.


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