With a head coach firmly in charge of the program in his second year and a new-look stadium things are popping in Howe. That head coach, Zack Hudson, said it’s something palpable.

""I couldn’t ask for a better school district. The school board and the superintendent have backed me up," said Hudson. "We’re actually spending quite a bit of money and have re-done our entire stadium. You know, that gets people excited. Everybody kind of has an excitement and a confidence, and I think that’s different than how it’s felt before."

Hudson said that confidence and excitement has bled over onto the practice field where his Bulldogs spent their first day in full pads on Friday competing in the annual Black-White game. While the players may be rusty it’s a good spot in which a coach can check out his returning players and gauge position strength.

"I saw a lot of good things, and it lets us know those guys returning are there to play," said Hudson of the game.

The Bulldogs have their key skill position players returning, as well as half the offensive line and half the defensive line. It’s a young team with just seven seniors, but Hudson likes what he has.

"Our kids are having fun, they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do," he said. "We had a real good spring; a lot of our kids returning came back 20 pounds heavier and twice as strong. They’re feeling real confident. You can see a different confidence level in our kids and that will always get you excited."

The key right now is to find spots for some of those younger players, to fill gaps. Hudson said that with the offense the Bulldogs are running (a slot 2) a three-back system is necessary and that those players will also see time on defense. Howe, therefore, is having to fill in with young players who are having to take 20 snaps a game on offense and 20 snaps on defense.

The Bulldogs have a pair of scrimmages before opening their season on the road in Bonham. The first of the two scrimmages will be at Boyd on Friday, while the second will be at home against Paris Chisholm on the following Thursday.