The pigskin is back in play in both Hico and Dublin, which began pre-season football workouts Monday.

Head Coach Wade Williams in Hico and Dwayne Ross, head football coach in Dublin, each reported having 58 student-athletes on the field for the first day of practices.

“I’m excited,” Williams said while addressing his team in between workouts, “and if you’re not excited you better get that way!”

Both squads and coaches have plenty to be excited about, with six starters returning on both sides of the ball for HHS, and five on each side in Dublin.

Hico was 6-5 last season, reaching the state playoffs before being eliminated in the first round. Dublin was 7-3, their best regular season mark in more than 20 years, but missed out on the post season.

“We’re working mainly on offense and timing stuff right now,” Ross said of his team’s focus early on. “It’s hard to do much on the defensive side until we get the pads on. We are looking at techniques and alignments on defense, but that’s about it right now.”

With three weeks until school starts and the regular season begins, it’s back to the basics in Hico.

“With school starting as late as it does this year, we’re focusing more on fundamentals offensively and defensively,” Williams said.

Dewayne Keith is one of the seniors Ross is looking to for leadership in Dublin, along with Sam Lopez and Joseph Warner.

“Keith will be our starting QB,” Ross stated. “It’s been a while since he’s taken snaps, but he was a first-team all-district receiver last year, and he’ll be fine. He’s a great competitor.”

Providing leadership for Williams in Hico are a pair of seniors and varsity veterans.

“Andrew Wise at linebacker and Jordan Turner at defensive tackle are three-year starters,” Williams said, “and they both play running back, too.”

Both teams have question marks on their offensive lines. Ross said Dublin has a couple spots that must be filled, while Williams has concerns with a lack of size.

Fans will have the opportunity to see the Tigers at a public practice and boosters meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Tigers Stadium.

DHS is hosting “Meet the Lions” night at 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.