Lucas' Pied Pipers fighting depth, experience
HAMLIN, Texas - As head coach Russell Lucas prepares for his 10th season at Hamlin, he described his longevity as an awesome feeling.
"I hate moving," smiled Lucas. "I did that for a while, I chased jobs trying to find the right job. This has been a really good fit for me and my family to be able to be in Hamlin this long."
During his stay the Pied Pipers have been consistently strong, finishing either first or second in eight of Lucas' nine seasons.
Dave Campbell's Texas Football predicts Hamlin to repeat as District 4-2A Division II champions, but the Pipers will have to deal with a lack of depth. Lucas expects only 17 or 18 players to suit up on varsity.
We don't have any guys that can't contribute, but they know going in that they're going to play a lot," said Lucas.
"It's been tough, but we've stuck together as a team," senior offensive and defensive lineman Shawn Montanez said. "They're quick learners, they're really starting to get the hang of everything and how everything works. I think everything's going to be okay."
Lucas estimated he will only have around seven seniors and four juniors on the varsity.
"The way to get experience is to make bad decisions. That's how you learn to make good decisions. We know there's going to be a learning curve when you throw those young kids out there.
"There's an old coaching saying for every sophomore you start you lose a game. Well, I hope that's not true because we're going to have some freshmen and sophomores out there. They will grow up fast because they're going to get thrown in the fire."
When junior lineman Abraham Gonzalez started as a sophomore, he looked up to the juniors and seniors for guidance. Now it's his turn.
"This year I really want to work it into the classroom," said Gonzalez. "We have a lot of kids that have a little bit of trouble with that, and I want to be more of a leader in an academic way and maybe that will lead them more toward the athletic standard."
Hamlin will begin the season at Anson on Friday, Sept. 1 before holding its first home game against Merkel the following week.