Winning teams don't just walk on the field the first week of August and begin preparing for the upcoming football season.
It's a process, one that starts in the weight room, during summer workouts and -for some schools - 7 on 7 football. The Spring Hill Panthers will get a chance today and Friday to see how far they've come, and maybe how close they are to becoming a winning team.
The Panthers will open play at the Texas 7 on 7 State Championships today in College Station, playing pool play games today before moving on to bracket play on Friday at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.
"Obviously, we would like to win it, but really the biggest thing is just learning how to communicate on the fly as players without us coaches out there," said Spring Hill head football coach and athletic director Jonny Louvier. "It's about helping each other out and not bringing each other down."
Louvier, hired back in March to replace Kelly Mercer at Spring Hill, said 7 on 7 coaches can run practices but are not allowed to coach during games.
"We have a parent on the sidelines with them in the games, but the quarterback is in charge of the offense and the defensive backs control the defense," Louvier said.
Spring Hill and District 6-4A Division II rival Pleasant Grove both qualified for the state tournament at a qualifying tournament hosted by Midlothian Heritage.
The Panthers will compete in a pool with Boerne, Graham and Hitchcock, facing Hitchcock at 2 p.m., Graham at 4 p.m. and Boerne at 6 p.m. today.
Pleasant Grove will meet Stephenville at 2 p.m., Brock at 4 p.m. and Jourdanton at 6 p.m. today.
A year ago, Spring Hill went 2-1 in pool play at the state tournament, opening bracket play with a 19-13 win over Springtown and falling to Jim Ned (47-19).
Louvier said he'll be keeping an eye on the field more than the scoreboard this weekend.
"Our focus all summer has been getting kids to be unselfish. ...to be good teammates and good people," he said. "I think we have some athletic kids, but we have to develop into a team and grow as a team."
Spring Hill and Pleasant Grove qualified for the state tournament in Division II. Carlisle, Arp, Tenaha and Daingerfield qualified for the state tournament in Division III, while John Tyler and Lufkin will compete in Division I.
In today's action, Carlisle will face Childress at 1 p.m., Hamilton at 3 p.m. and Tidehaven at 5 p.m.; Arp meets Brady at 1 p.m., Falls City at 3 p.m. and Wellington at 5 p.m.; Tenaha faces Rogers at 1 p.m., East Bernard at 3 p.m. and Crane at 5 p.m., and Daingerfield battles Albany at 1 p.m., Van Horn at 3 p.m. and Ganado at 5 p.m.
On Friday, John Tyler meets Bridgeland at 1 p.m., Arlington at 3 p.m. and A&M Consolidated at 5 p.m., while Lufkin battles Cain at 1 p.m., Bowie at 3 p.m. and Anderson at 5 p.m.