DALLAS -- It's cold this week, and most schools are out for Thanksgiving break.

But for football players and coaches in Texas, there is nothing they would rather be doing than practicing.

'It's really my favorite week of the year,' said Denton Ryan head coach Joey Florence.

This will be the sixth year in a row that Denton Ryan has practiced on Thanksgiving.

'We'll practice for about an hour,' Florence said, 'and at the end, the seniors will stand up and our parents are around, and the seniors will stand up and say what they're thankful for.'

Cedar Hill has that same tradition following their Thanksgiving Day practice, and this will be the sixth time in the last eight years they've done it.

'There's two weeks as a football coach that you want to be coaching,' said Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire. 'Mine's on Thanksgiving and, of course, the state championship week.'

Head coach Bob Wager and his Arlington Martin teams have practiced Thanksgiving week four out of the last five years. He said all that means is they're one step closer to their ultimate goal.

Their desire to work during what should be a few days off is what makes these coaches different.

'That's what we love to do,' Wager said. 'We knew what we signed up for, and when you're putting in extra hours at this time of year, it's a blessing.'

For DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis, the Eagles' season has been over at this point only twice in his six years.

'Miserable. Very miserable,' Mathis said of not practicing on Thanksgiving. 'I've done it twice here, and it's not fun. You don't even want to get out of bed.'

Every coach agreed that playing this week is a goal, but the No. 1 goal is to play the Saturday before Christmas.


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