CADDO MILLS — A new head coach, new synthetic turf and new weightlifting equipment.

  That’s the story of the 2019 Caddo Mills Foxes as they prepare for the 2019 football season.

  Kodi Crane has taken over from Steve Sumrow as the Foxes’ new head coach and athletic director. Crane was chosen from more than 110 applicants for the position.

  “Coach Crane is a man of high integrity and has a proven record of developing character and leadership in the young men and women that he has led,” said Luke Allison, superintendent of the Caddo Mills ISD.

  Crane was selected from among 110 applicants for the position.

  Before joining the Foxes, Crane served for seven years as a head coach at Gonzales and Groesbeck and as an assistant at San Angelo Central and Alice in South Texas. He’s originally from Portales, N.M. His last team at Gonzales went 6-6, winning a bi-district championship.

  Crane, who’s been on board for about seventh months, is already feeling “right at home” in Caddo Mills.

  “The community of Caddo has accepted our families,” he said.

  The Foxes are also getting new synthetic turf installed at Ed Locker Stadium by the Hellas Construction Company in place of natural grass. Crane said the new turf will be a plus on rainy days and the “hashes and the yard lines” are always marked.

  “I was very thankful for our school board and our administration getting the field ram-rodded,” said Crane, who noted the turf will also help the Caddo Mills youth sports teams, the soccer teams and the band. “The turf helps a lot of programs.”

  The Foxes also had new weightlifting equipment installed in the weight room.

  Crane and the Foxes’ coaching staff, which includes new offensive coordinator Bruce McDonald and new defensive coordinator Patrick Walker, have been working with the Foxes since the first day of practices on Aug. 5. They’re coaching seven returning starters on offense and seven on defense off a 6-4 playoff team.

  “I feel like they’re doing everything we’ve asked of them,” said Crane. “They’re here. They’re physical. I felt like we had a good camp, a short camp. We feel like we have smart kids, kids that understand the game of football.

  “We came in with new schemes. We feel like they picked it up really fast. Obviously we have a lot of room for improvement. That’s why we practice every day.”

  The Foxes scored three touchdowns on offense and two on defense in last week’s preseason scrimmage against Cooper. It was played at Royse City, while the Foxes’ new turf was being installed.

  “I felt like we did some good things in the scrimmage,” said Crane. “I felt like we executed where we wanted to at this time of the year. Technique issues we need to fix. Alignment issues we need to fix.”

  Returning quarterback Tyler Townley, who passed for 1,425 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and rushed for 685 yards and 10 TDs, ran for a 15-yard touchdown in the scrimmage and passed 10 yards to Gavyn Beane for another score. Beane was the Foxes’ second-leading receiver in 2018 with 21 catches for 376 yards and three TDs.

  Quarterback Jason Thomason also threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Braydon Brewer on a fade route.

  The Foxes’ defense scored twice on fumble returns of 40 yards by Ryan Hammons and 30 yards by Josh Chreene.

  Returning all-state linebacker Reese Payne is back to lead that defense along with linebacker Konner Pounds, defensive backs Kaland Dalton, Savion Neal and Jake Tumey. 

  The Foxes were scheduled to scrimmage Mineola on Thursday, again in Royse City. Their 2019 season opener is set for Aug. 30 at Quinlan Ford.

  “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine” picked the Foxes to finish second in District 5-4A-II behind 9-1 Sunnyvale and ahead of 4-7 Community, 1-8 Farmersville, 4-6 Dallas Roosevelt and 1-8 Dalas Lincoln.

  “We expect to get better every time that we meet and we practice and we play,” said Crane. “Every football team has a life of its own. We will go as far as this football team is dedicated to go.”

       2019 Caddo Mills Foxes

          Football Schedule

Aug. 30 at Quinlan Ford                 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 6 Edgewood                         7:30 p.m.

Sept. 13 Grapevine Faith (HC)        7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Lone Oak                     7:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 Open

Oct. 4 at Ferris                              7:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 *Sunnyvale                       7:30 p.m.

Oct. 18 *Dallas Roosevelt              7:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 *at Farmersville                7:30 p.m.

Nov. 1 *Community (SN)              7:30 p.m.

Nov. 8 *at Dallas Lincoln               7:30 p.m.

*District 5-4A-II games

(HC) Homecoming

(SN) Senior night

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