By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
It’s officially the offseason for high school football, but Port Isabel Tarpon players have been busy preparing for next season ever since last November’s loss to Sinton in a first-round playoff game.
The players may not start working to get ready for the new season as soon as they get off the bus after a season-ending loss, but they don’t waste much time getting to it. “As soon as we got beat in the playoffs, I gave them a week off, then we started in,” Head P.I.H.S. Football Coach and Athletic Director Monty Stumbaugh said this week.
“They’ve had a really good off-season,” Stumbaugh told the Press. “They’ve worked hard and now they have to maintain it through the summer.”
The players are on their own for two weeks after the end of the school year, then they start working out with the coaches. “Starting next week we’ll work them out as per UIL rules. We can work them out two hours a day, Monday through Thursday, for six weeks.” Stumbaugh was referring to running and weight lifting; “That’s all you can do.”
The week leading up to and including the Fourth of July is an off week. “We’ll come back on Monday, the 6th, and work out about two more weeks. Then the last two weeks they’ll be on their own.” The players will have 17 days off after the last scheduled work-out day before practice officially begins Monday, August 3.
The Tarpons started last season 5-0, then won their district opener at Progreso, 61-7. They lost three of their last four district contests, then were buried by Sinton in a bi-district playoff game, 52-22.
A sour ending like that provides much motivation for the next season. “If it’s not on their minds, they’ve been reminded of it quite regularly,” Stumbaugh said. “We lost some games we felt like we gave away by turning the ball over. The Orange Grove game we fumbled the ball away and blew coverages. You can’t do those things.”
Not everyone goes along with a difficult off-season program. “We had a few kids who are not with us anymore, a few kids who quit,” Stumbaugh said. “They decided it wasn’t their thing, and it’s not everybody’s thing. So we said good luck to you – we’re going on.”
The team aspect of it all is emphasized, according to Stumbaugh. “It’s about the guy next to me. I need to make sure I do my job to take care of that guy next to me. It’s all about team.”
“We talk to them all the time about doing well, doing right. Making their grades, and passing, is part of being a team player. If you’re not there for each other then you’re in for the wrong reason.”
Allowances are made for the fact that it is, after all, summertime. “We’re not going to argue with them,” Stumbaugh said. “If you don’t want to do it today, go home and come back tomorrow. I believe that kids and coaches got to get away from each other once in a while, to save their sanity and ours. It works two ways. Enjoy your family and relax a little bit.”
Coach Stumbaugh will be in his office in the athletic department at the high school until June 24. After that, “I’m just going to see my parents (Lubbock), pick up my other grandson, and probably not do much.”
Stumbaugh will attend the annual coach’s clinic in Houston this year from July 19-22, and will back in his office by Monday, the 27th.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.