LOMETA — Kyle Molter knows things will never be the same.
Entering his senior season, Lometa’s linebacker/running back understands he must cherish each practice and each game because after this year, football will not be the same.
Regardless of what the future holds for the standout, Molter’s six-man football career is coming to a close.
“I’ve got to give my all this year,” he said, “because I’m not going to get to play this game any more.
“Maybe I’ll play 11-man football in college, but this is going to be it for six-man.”
And he intends to make his final season with the Hornets a memorable one.
Like numerous other schools across the state, Lometa began its preparations for the upcoming season Monday, conducting two-a-day practices without pads until University Interscholastic League regulations allow full contact beginning Friday.
Although the sessions are somewhat limited, Molter’s expectations for the season are not.
“I want to make the playoffs,” he said. “We haven’t been to the playoffs since my freshman year, so it would be really nice to go, and hopefully, we can win a couple rounds.”
To end the skid, however, the Hornets must overcome inexperience.
With only three lettermen returning to the 13-player roster, Lometa will look to jell quickly as it hopes to emerge from District 11-1A, Division I, which includes a pair 2014 regional semifinalists in district champion Zephyr and Santa Anna.
Through the first few days of practice, second-year head coach D.T. Torres has no complaints.
“The kids are excited,” he said. “We are very young and only have a few leaders, but everyone is very motivated, and they’ve all been working extremely hard.”
The dedication stretches back to before official practices began as a number of the players took part in 7-on-7 football during June. It marked the first time Lometa participated in a 7-on-7 league, and the experience was extremely beneficial, according to senior quarterback Ivan Jasso, who will also play in the Hornets’ secondary on defense.
“We had to play against big schools like San Saba,” Jasso said, “and I think we got a lot of good stuff out of that.”
Jasso and Molter are two of the players expected to step up and lead the Hornets this season after graduation claimed five seniors from the roster, including R.J. Haggard, who led the team in rushing each of the last two seasons.
In 2014, Lometa went 3-7 overall and 1-2 in district, losing three of its final four games by identical scores of 62-14, but the Hornets have put the past behind them and are displaying the enthusiasm Torres wants to see for the duration of the season.
“We want to be physical on both sides of the ball with lots of energy and lots of effort,” he said. “We need to play every down like it is our last one to be successful.
“So we’ve really been working on our tempo these past few days.”
With the first practices being reserved due to UIL regulations, Torres expects the intensity to increase even further once contact is allowed Friday, and perhaps nobody is looking forward to putting on the pads more than junior Connell Barnett.
“The football field is the only place you get to hit someone hard and not get in trouble for it,” the running back/safety said. “So, I take advantage of it, but we’ve got a lot of freshmen. I can’t hit them too hard or they will lose their confidence, but I’m going to build them up and get them used to it.”