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By GREG HIGGINS
After a week and a half of practice, North Lamar head football coach Tommy Felty is fired up about the upcoming football season.
“I’m real excited”, he said in an interview with eParisExtra.com.
“In the spring, I was excited about the attitude of the kids, how hard they worked, the improvements they made. And if they’ll make those kinds of improvements throughout the year, I feel like we will have a very good season,” said Felty, who is beginning his 16th season as the Panthers’ head coach.
The team is a year removed from a campaign in which it went 5-5, including 2-3 in district.
“Last year was obviously a disappointment for us. We’ve had quite a bit of success over the past 10 years,” adds Felty. “We would love to win district. That’s the No. 1 goal. Get into the playoffs and take it a game at a time,” he said.
The Panthers have eight playoff appearances since 2002, but are 1-8 all-time in the post-season. Their only win in the playoffs was a 19-17 victory over Hallsville in a Class 4A bi-district game in 2006.
He said he knows winning isn’t going to be easy this year in District 13-3A, which has three teams among the top Class 3A teams in the state, according to some preseason rankings.
“We use it for fuel to fire the kids up,” Felty said. “It doesn’t affect us at all, but the kids see it and it wakes them up to the fact that we don’t have any respect.”
Whatever respect his players get, they know “they are going to have to earn it,” he added.
Felty has been coaching long enough to know, “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish in the polls that matters.”
The Panthers have two pre-season scrimmages – on the road against Prairiland on Saturday morning and against Daingerfield at home the following Friday before getting the season under way on Aug. 31.
Here’s North Lamar’s 2012 Varsity football schedule (*=District 13-3A)
Aug. 31: North Lamar at Commerce, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7: Bonham at North Lamar, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14: North Lamar at Canton, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: North Lamar at New Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: Quinlan Ford at North Lamar, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5: Open
Oct. 12: North Lamar at Pittsburg*, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19: North Lamar at Liberty-Eylau*, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: Atlanta* at North Lamar, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: North Lamar at Paris*, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9: Pleasant Grove* at North Lamar, 7:30 p.m.