The first official football practice of the season is often gets bogged down by organizing issues, re-introducing drills and assignments and shaking off the rust from off-season. Not so at Lake Highlands.

The Wildcats hit the ground running at 6 a.m. Monday and never slowed down.

“Things were a lot sharper than I expected it to be,” coach Scott Smith said.

A team that so focused, so early in the process must be anticipating good things.

“I think there’s a good feeling,” Smith said. “There’s some excitement about the first practice. I like to think there’s enthusiasm for what we’re doing and we’re ready to roll.”

As an example of the team’s sharpness, Smith said approximately 95 percent of the players passed the annual conditioning test – 20 sets of 40-yard dashes. Last year, he estimated only 75 to 80 percent of the team could pass the test on the first day.

“We had a lot of energy. I was very up-tempo,” defensive tackle Tre Stewart said. “I think we all have a feeling that this team has the potential to do some really impressive things.”

How much the players believe in this year’s squad is evidenced in the motto selected by the team captains for the 2010 season: “Let’s Make History.”

“We haven’t had a state championship around here since 1981 and that’s way too long,” Stewart said. “The community around here has been great with their support. Now it’s our turn to hold up our end of the bargain.”