CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The start of the high-school football regular season is almost here -- we're talking about next week -- so the excitement is building, for everybody.
Which, by the way, includes home-schooled players. That's right, home-schooled athletes can play; but not everywhere.
Arlington Heights Christian School in Annaville plays six-man football. Only eight players make up their roster, and two of them are home-schoolers.
Benjamin Menard and Caleb Mathisen spend their school days at their homes, but in the afternoon, they meet up with their Lions teammates for football practice.
Yes, home-schoolers can play sports, but only for private schools like Arlington Heights.
Both Benjamin and Caleb have been home-schooled for most of their lives, and to be able to come out here and still play organized high-school football is a dream come true.
"I mean, I couldn't really do anything during my home-school year until i found out I could play here," Caleb said. "And it means a lot, being a home-schooler, that I can come out and still play football and still hit people, you know instead of ending my sports career by going home-school again."
For Benjamin, it lets him flex his leadership muscles as well as getting some exercise.
"It's really an important part of my life and keeps me physically active and with my friends," he said. "This is my second year as team captain, so I am really looking forward to continuing that."
Benjamin and Caleb must pay a fee to play for the school, maintain passing grades and, of course, good citizenship is very important.
They play a brand of football that is unique in South Texas: Annapolis Christian is the only other six-man team in the area. And this type of football is unlike most we see around here.
"Six-man football is a beast," said Arlington Heights head coach Andrea Garrett. "You have to be in great shape and be prepared for all the running and open-field tackling. You have to know the fundamentals of the game, and it's totally different from 11-man. It's a great sport."
By the way, the Lions won the six-man state title a couple of years ago.
They will play a nine-game regular season, and open the season at home a week from Friday.