Lee Rebels share what it means to practice on Thanksgiving

MIDLAND, Tx (KOSA) -- It’s one of the great traditions in Texas high school football: The best teams in the state are still playing on Thanksgiving. The Lee Rebels are no strangers to practicing on the holiday, but it remains a special occasion that goes beyond football.

“This is a memory that lasts forever,” Lee quarterback Mikey Serrano said. “It’ll be 20 years from now and you’ll be talking about it. So it’s always fun to practice on Thanksgiving.”

“It’s really an honor to practice on thanksgiving,” linebacker Charlie Gonzalez said. “The past three years we’ve gotten the opportunity to practice on Thanksgiving and I’m really thankful for that.”

While being one of the best high school football teams in Texas is its own reward, the hot chocolate the Rebels receive on Thanksgiving morning isn’t bad either.

“We’ve had a tradition for a longtime before I got here that everybody gets hot chocolate,” head coach Clint Hartman said. “We get hot chocolate, and we let them know today’s just a little different. So they walk in, we tell them ‘Happy Thanksgiving, get your hot chocolate, and get ready to practice’.”

“It’s fun,” Serrano said. “Got some donuts with it. Started my Thanksgiving well.”

The early morning practice still gives players and coaches time to spend Thanksgiving at home with their families, but many of the Rebels loved ones make their way to practice as well.

“We’re with these kids more than our families,” Hartman said. “Those kids are a part of our families. I think the symbolism of Thanksgiving and family, and being with kids you’re with all the time that you love, it’s a fun time.”

“I’m truly blessed because I know the culture here is amazing,” Gonzalez said. “And it’s not like that with any other football team. It’s one of the main reasons I love playing for Midland Lee, the culture here is amazing.”

The Rebels play their regional semi-final playoff game against Southlake Carroll at 5 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.