While December and its cold temperatures might seem like a lifetime away, local high school football programs began their treks toward state championships on July 30 when practices officially got under way.
Many local teams hope to build on a banner 2011 season that saw Porter Ridge advance to the Class 4A state title game, and Marvin Ridge and Cuthbertson set school records for wins. The groundwork for that type of success is laid in the first few weeks of the season, according to Porter Ridge coach Blair Hardin.
“The one thing we’ve tried to tell (our players) is, ‘Teams are going to come after you, and you can’t be satisfied with what we did (in 2011). We have to stay on the grind and move forward,’” Hardin said. “The biggest thing is not letting the kids get complacent but know it’s time to turn it up another degree because we still didn’t accomplish our ultimate goal (of winning a state title).”
Although coaches and players are allowed to participate in preseason training such as weightlifting and 7-on-7 passing contests, Marvin Ridge coach Scott Chadwick said nothing scratches the players’ competitive itch quite like the beginning of official practice.
“At some point, the kids get tired of that stuff — the weight room and the conditioning stuff,” Chadwick said. “They want to get out here and play.
“And quite honestly, the coaches get tired of it. They want to get out here and be on the field. I think it definitely gives you a little bit of renewed enthusiasm.”
Aaron Garcia, firstname.lastname@example.org