La Marque head football coach Mike Jackson has been preaching about the grind before his current crop of players were born and long before it became a popular phrase in modern vernacular.

In recent years, terms like “on the grind” or “embracing the grind” have come to mean pushing one’s limits to achieve a great goal.

That is exactly what some local high school teams began to experience as the first football practices began Aug. 4.

“I don’t want to be outworked, and I don’t want my team to be outworked,” Jackson said. “There is no substitute in this game for discipline and hard work.”

The varsity group has solid numbers at 35 to 40, but the sophomores and freshmen participants have been lower than in recent years, Jackson said.

Although the numbers are down, Jackson said the first practices were one of the best opening weeks in his four years at La Marque.

Given La Marque’s numbers and high-octane playing style, practice is especially challenging for the players involved.

“We play at a very fast pace, so we’re making them practice at a very fast pace, and it’s hot,” Jackson said. “We make our kids rep both ways because we’re a smaller school now. They don’t just practice one way. They work offense, and then they go and work defense.”

The Friendswood Mustangs find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum in the numbers game.

As Friendswood moves up to class 6A, the team finds itself with one of the largest groups head coach Robert Koopmann has seen in 20-plus years with the program.

Friendswood, which just a few years ago shared a district with La Marque, had 108 freshmen and 235 total players report for the first week of practice, Koopmann said.

“It’s one of those good problems to have, finding helmets for everybody and equipment and all those things,” Koopmann said. “At 235, we’re way north of where we’ve been in forever.”

Koopmann credited the implementation of a C team on the junior high level for the growth in interest in the program, which allowed more players to stay involved in football before trying out for the high school team.

Even with the large numbers, the players and coaching staff have worked together very well and have had an excellent understanding of the playbook in the first week of practices, Koopmann said.

“It amazes me how focused our kids are, and it amazes me how well we’re coaching them and how the two are working together,” Koopmann said. “It’s just fun to watch.”

Texas City, Santa Fe and Bay Area Christian were among the county schools that began practicing Aug. 4.

Schools that held spring practices, which include Ball High School, Clear Creek, Clear Falls and Clear Springs, begin practicing today.

For information about practice schedules, contact respective schools’ athletic departments.

Contact Sports Editor James LaCombe at 409-683-5242 or

(8) comments

Robert Buckner

For all the folks working hard in this heat and humidity, I hope it pays off for you this fall. I'm certain that comments will follow from the usual suspects that follow HS football in Galveston County. Where's JBG?

Walter Manuel

Oh I'm sure Robert as soon as Mr. JBG gets stirring around this morning and gets his diet coke and grape juice in him, he'll be ready for some football smack talk!

"The varsity group has solid numbers at 35 to 40, but the sophomores and freshmen participants have been lower than in recent years, Jackson said"

This is so sad to read, I wonder how much longer before LMISD becomes a 6 man team? .[sad]


Well guys I was out yonder last week with Jack'nem and it bought back old memories. Yes it did. I almost got loose and revealed some of my old secrets dealing with hand movements and hand plus body movements I use to deploy successfully on larger opponents back in the day.
NEVER once got called for holding! This stuff is so proficient, I would not teach it to my OWN sons because they were not worthy! So I've held on to them in hope of passing them on to my grandsons one day! Oh I know somebody is saying,... "...ahhhh there goes JBG again, they need to get him off this forum! He continues to brag, and he is always shooting his mouth off!" Naw! Naw! This is true. These tactics serve me well in my career, and I would only deploy them in situations when the ball was coming to my side. That was to keep the opponent off balanced!
Anyway, I'm glad football is back! This year in LM our mission is simple! We want to get "Ole Jack" out of here with some hardware on his finger! In a couple of weeks, the Ball High Tors are blowing in here upset minded. We need to be ready for that. Coach Anders is in his second year, and BALL will be better. How much better can depend on how much HEART is displayed by the TORS, and how much TRADITION is remembered of past Battle of The Causeway games between the two teams!
TC Stings, my other team, and the Santa Fe Indians because of their two young head coaches, will be two teams to keep an eye on. Ahhhh then there is Friendswood, ......wait, when did Friendswood start wearing BLACK HELMETS? Anyway Friendswood is always tough, so they will be playing late in the season in my opinion. I can't leave out the Clear Creek Wildcats, with that Young QB named Chase Hildreth! If you want one player to watch, watch him!!!!!
Lastly, the Dickinson Gators, will surprise this season, don't count them out! You say JB, ahhhhh what are you really looking forward to seeing? Well, I'm eager to see Leland Surovik ( TC) vs Mark Kanipes (SF)! My second choice is to watch LM stomp us some country boys this season!!!!!! [smile][smile]
PS. We're going to do it too!

Walter Manuel

And there my friends you have a quick run down of what's ahead for this area football season according to Mr. JBG!

That was pretty good! [wink]

Keith Gray

I know that Golightly dude in the Fe pic... he still has that "fishy" sting ray smell from his old TC days...

Robert Buckner

As usual, JBG proves again why he is THE KING of SMACKtalk on Galveston County football. All others are just wannbes. I'm certain it will be a fun and interesting season. I hope the GDN runs its live thread again this year with folks from all around keeping us updated on the Friday night action. I may even slide down the street to Etheridge to watch it live or stroll over to TC to catch one at Sting stadium. If I were brave enough even sneak up SH6 to watch the Indians if Keith Gray were to allow it.

Keith Gray

Buc you have got to come to a Fe game and help run the chains with me... the best seat in the house.

If I would have told Coach Golightly 33 years ago that he would be a coach at Santa Fe... I believe he would have changed his major. But damn glad to have him, and I know he will make our Tribe as strong as possible.

Robert Buckner

I might be able to operate the chains during halftime but that would be it. I'd probably be busy chatting it up with other old alumni.

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