GEYSER — Denton-Geyser-Stanford coach Matt Neumann is happy to have his team back on the football field after a summer of uncertainty surrounding fall sports.
“This is one of the harder-working classes I've had as far as getting in the weight room over the summer,” Neumann said. “So it's nice to see them out here and see their hard work pay off. And I sure hope we get to some games and have a full season so we can really see the results of that.”
The Bearcats have a solid team that should compete for a title in the new 6-Man Central Division. But, more importantly to Neumann, moving forward with the fall sports season helps them stay on the right path.
"Sports and school provides direction for these kids. I think it's so important that we keep the seasons going and school going,” Neumann said. “If they weren’t here they’d be out doing something else. Here we have a controlled environment. We're doing our best to follow the rules. And I hope people see that and the kids can reap the rewards from that.”
Look no further than all-conference senior lineman Xander Houseman. He was devastated by the loss of a spring season and struggled with remote learning. But being back on the field with his teammates gives him a renewed outlook.
“Football is my life. I mean, there's no way I'm going to be able to make it to college without football or a scholarship,” Houseman said. “I mean, I haven't had the best background, so this might be my only chance. My dad was in prison for most of my life and mom raised four kids on her own. Football is my way of coping with the things I have to go through.”
With much of the sports world focusing on shortened seasons, canceled games, and COVID precautions, Neumann prefers to look at the reasons that playing football is important to small communities.
He believes many of the restrictions and guidelines passed down from state and county health departments are made with larger schools and communities in mind. With just 10 athletes on the DGS roster, Neumann thinks it’s possible to be safe and enjoy the season at the same time.
“We're going to follow the rules and I hope people recognize we're doing our best to follow the rules,” Neumann said. “If something bad happens, these guys got shoulders to fall back on. And I think that says a lot. The importance of sports and camaraderie in my mind can't be overstated.”
The Bearcats will be led by Houseman and all-state senior Zack Solomon. DGS opens the season on Saturday at Roy-Winifred.