Kilgore High School football practice began Tuesday afternoon, as players and coaches, managers and trainers braved the heat to begin preparations for the 2018 season. Above: assistant coach Jay Dean looks on during a running back drill. The Bulldogs' hearts were likely heavy after losing teammate Chris Ballard, a senior, over the weekend, but and practice was canceled on Monday in respect to Ballard and his family. Kilgore, which lost a big senior class to graduation, opens the season on Friday, Aug. 31, at home against Nacogdoches, for the second straight year. Before that, the Bulldogs will host the community for the annual watermelon fest at the field house on campus on Thursday night, Aug. 16, and then visit Gilmer for a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 17. Kilgore will host Kaufman for a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 24. Season tickets are on sale now (see page 9 for more information), and the News Herald's annual football preview will be in the Aug. 29 edition.