Music blared from outdoor speaker systems at practice fields in Stephenville and Dublin Monday morning. Sneakers squeaked and whistles blew inside the gyms at SHS, DHS and Lingleville.
And were those ball-bearing-loaded cans really shaking before 7 a.m.?
It could only mean one thing - fall sports are back in action.
Athletes across Erath County and Texas reported for preseason football and volleyball workouts Monday, and as always the energy was high regardless which school's colors the athletes donned.
"It's like Christmas morning," said a beaming Dublin head football coach and athletic director Bob Cervetto. "The kids showing up excited and ready to do something special, everybody being 0-0, the energy is high. It's always a great feeling on the first day."
Stephenville welcomed more than 180 football players and about 70 volleyball players to its workouts.
"It's great. We're having so much fun out here working with everybody, even the young ones," said Stephenville senior Kristin Kaiser. "We expect to do great things and go far this year. We've been coming together as a team to reach that goal."
Nobody is expected to go deeper than the Stephenville football team after the Yellow Jackets were ranked No. 1 in 3A by Texas Football Magazine and No. 2 by Friday Night Football Texas.
Senior running back Witt Westbrook realizes the Yellow Jackets have an opportunity to do something special, and says the first practice was a solid start.
"It was good. I haven't seen some of the guys over the summer because people have been on vacation and some work out at different times, but we really just picked up right where we left off and worked well together," Westbrook said.
Concerning adding a fifth state title to Stephenville's storied football tradition, Westbrook says that's what it's all about, and not just for the seniors.
"That would be such a big deal, something we've talked about since our freshman year," Westbrook said. "Even some of the underclassmen who are having to step up, they want it just as bad as we do. I just can't wait to get the (pre-district) games started, because that's when we'll find out what we're made of."
Stephenville head football coach and athletic director Joe Gillespie was as excited as Cervetto Monday.
"Everywhere I look there's football. There's football here, football right there and football way over there," he said as he looked all around from the middle of the Yellow Jacket practice fields. "I love it."
Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports