Killeen junior linebacker Peyton Searcy was looking forward to the start of spring drills since Nov. 8.
He remembers being on the field that day in Temple when the Roos fell to the Wildcats 63-45. The loss meant Killeen’s 2013 season would end without a playoff appearance.
“When that last second came off the clock, I was ready to put pads on and try again,” Searcy said. “It never feels good missing the playoffs. I feel like we worked hard enough all year and we should have been in, but we need to work a little bit harder.”
The march toward 2014 started on Monday when the Roos began spring football practice.
The University Interscholastic League allows Class 5A and 4A schools to conduct 18 spring football practices if they begin fall workouts a week later, during the second Monday in August.
Killeen finished the season 3-7 overall and 3-4 in District 8-5A, one game behind Copperas Cove for the fourth and final playoff spot.
“We’re hungry. We want to redeem ourselves from last year,” junior wide receiver Dante Ellis-Thomas said. “We’re kind of mad about what happened last year against Temple. It was a shootout and we wanted that game because it would have put us in the playoffs.”
Afternoon temperatures may have stretched into the 90s, but for the football players, there was nothing like snapping on their maroon helmets and getting after it.
“It feels great,” junior offensive lineman T’Mond Johnson said. “We’re back with our team getting ready for next season. This feels great to be back into it.”
Spring football practice allows Roos head coach Sam Jones, and other coaches who option to work out in the spring, a chance to implement some new wrinkles and get an initial depth chart going into August workouts.
Jones said one of the big changes this spring will be having the players practice on both offense and defense. He hopes going both ways will help the team develop some depth.
“I think it was the Shoemaker game where one of our ends went down and we didn’t have an answer,” Jones said. “This way everybody learns a little bit in the spring about offense and defense and they’ll be a better football player by learning another position. If somebody goes down in a game, we’ve got a replacement on the other side of the ball.”
Killeen will play its annual Maroon and White football game May 23 at 7 p.m. at Leo Buckley Stadium.
The Roos will be a part of District 12-6A along with the other three Killeen Independent School District schools, Belton, Copperas Cove and Waco Midway.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year and I feel like we can do better than we did last year,” Searcy said. “Three-and-seven is unacceptable.”