By Terry Cookston

Herald-Banner Sports

Heritage Christian Academy kicked off 2-a-day football practices on Monday with high expectations of continuing a tradition that has seen the Eagles win a state championship in 2006, finish as runners-up in 2000, 2001 and 2005 and advance to the state semifinals in 2007.

The TAPPS 6-man power fielded 20 players in shorts and helmets on Monday with its 8:00 a.m. practice marking the end of summer break. Practices were set from 8:00-10:00 a.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m.

TAPPS football teams, UIL Class 3A-and-below and Class 4A/5A schools that didn't conduct spring practices were allowed by rule to begin workouts on Monday.

Class 4A/5A teams that held spring drills must wait until Monday, August 11, to start workouts.

TAPPS restricts teams to three days in shorts and helmets before practicing in full pads. The UIL restricts schools to conditioning drills in shorts and helmets for the first four days of practice.

With temperatures in the 100-plus degree range and the heat index several degrees higher coaches and trainers face a dual problem of keeping players hydrated and getting them in playing shape for the season.

HCA was scheduled to suit up in full pads on Thursday and will open its 2008 campaign with a scrimmage against Christway and Christian Life at Duncanville on Saturday, August 16, at 9:00 a.m.

The Eagles will kick off regular-season play on August 22nd at public school power Trinidad.

Heritage has won 38 games and lost only three in the last three years. The high-scoring 2007 Eagles swept their schedule with 11 45-point rule victories.

QB Zach Read returns to lead the 2008 offense that also includes returning standouts Josh Points (RB), Kevin Prater (RB) and Spencer McAfee (C).

DBs Josh Peschell and Noah Ward will return to anchor a strong defense.

Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath will open two-a-day practices on Monday, Aug. 11.

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