Practice begins for the football season August 12, which means returning players from across the state have just more than a month until the hitting begins.
Players from Moffat County High School worked hard at a team camp along with scrimmaging in June, and some of the Bulldogs have continued to pour time into their upcoming season in the weight room.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Bulldogs show up to work on their strength and conditioning. With 17 graduated seniors missing from last year’s team, the players know it is important to hit the ground running when they first are able to put their pads on.
“Every other team is going to work out, so if you don’t do it, you’re going to be behind them,” said Keith Smith, an incoming junior. “You have to be here.”
Head coach Kip Hafey puts an emphasis on summer training, especially because of the youth he sees playing significant roles on the team this season.
“We encourage everyone to come out because it’s so important,” Hafey said. “You’ve got to prepare now for the season. Everything you do now gets you more ready to accomplish your goals and with injury prevention. That’s huge in football.”
The Bulldogs are entering their second year in a new offensive and defensive scheme, but will have a lot of new faces running the show and making the plays this year. Still, a year of learning in practice and in junior varsity games has made a big difference, Hafey said.
“The kids are pretty much there,” he said of picking up the offense. “They know the terminology, they know the concepts of what we’re trying to do, so we’re farther along with that than last year. It’s nice to get that set early on so you can get reps with it.”
Moffat County put its skill to the test during a nine-day team camp and scrimmages against Roaring Fork and Aspen earlier in the summer, and came out looking strong, incoming senior Brayden Peterson said.
“Honestly I think we played good, way better than I thought we would,” Peterson said. “We had kids stepping up, especially since we had some of our older guys injured and not playing.”
Since then, it has been all about building strength to contend in what will be the first varsity season for some players.
But the workouts do more than increase strength and stamina. They also aid the team in forming camaraderie between the players, before the really difficult stuff has begun.
“You know you can rely on the guys who have been here lifting,” Smith said. “You go through this with them and know they’re serious about the season, so it really gives you teammates you can trust.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org