MCHS football team takes on old-school training |

MCHS football team takes on old-school training

Ben Bulkeley
Freshman Michael Samuelson tries to tip a large tractor tire Thursday evening at the high school track. The football team has been using workouts with the tires to change the routine.
Hans Hallgren

It’s the stuff montages are made for.

On Thursday evening, one not uncommon for Craig’s summer without a summer, a group of young football players took to the rain-lashed high school track.

There were no coaches, no pads, no hitting sleigh and no whistles, just a handful of Moffat County High School football players out in the cold.

Getting tired. Literally.

The group of guys – incoming freshmen and returning underclassmen – were training in ways that might seem barbaric by today’s standards of high-tech weight rooms, measured supplements and Yogalates.

They took turns pulling a rope attached to two car tires, spanned the width of the field throwing tires and paced the track, flipping over tractor tires.

It’s hard work, but they don’t stop.

All the athletes have the same motivation for pushing themselves: to silence any naysayers, including themselves.

“We want to prove everyone wrong,” junior left tackle Casey Martin said. “We’re better than a 4-6 team.”

After last year’s record of 4-6, the team has dedicated itself to its summer program.

The team has been practicing almost every day since the end of school, including a June 10 to 14 camp at the University of Wyoming.

It’s the drive to surprise and to add another date to the scoreboard that motivates, sophomore fullback Mason Updike said.

“We want to get better; we want to make it to state,” Updike said. “We feel like if we work hard enough, we can beat anybody.”

“I think we’ll be able to get on the board against just about anybody,” incoming freshman Brady Martinez said.

Even without a coach at the track, players work as hard as they can.

Martin, who on Thursday was the oldest of the players, acted as coach, challenging the other players to push themselves.

And when his teammates couldn’t flip over one of the 100-pound tractor tires, he volunteered for it.

It’s the peer encouragement that keeps the players going, sophomore Miguel Molina said.

“Once the team is all out here together, we push each other,” Molina said. “Everyone wants to get better.”

Workouts have been split between the weight room and the track.

MCHS alumni Dan Linsacum designed the workouts at the track, which has been dubbed the “obstacle course.”

Head coach Kip Hafey said the workouts are new for this year and are meant to keep players excited about workouts.

“Already, these guys are seeing major gains,” he said. “They’re getting stronger from rolling the tractor tires, working on their cores with the tire throw, and they’re getting quicker.”

Incoming freshman Michael Samuelson said the obstacle course makes every day a little different.

“This is fun – it keeps it new, keeps us motivated,” he said. “I like the old-school stuff the best.”

Sophomore Wyatt Villa said both options are tough.

“It depends,” Villa said. “Sometimes, it’s harder in the weight room because the coaches are there – everyone else is there pushing you. But if everyone else is there, you can also take more breaks.”

Updike said one workout with the tires strengthens more than on section at a time.

“I like being able to do this different stuff,” he said. “Plus, out here when you’re using the tires, you get more of a workout – you work your biceps, your hamstrings. In the weight room, you just focus on one part.”

For 45 minutes to an hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the boys belong to the track.

But they make the tires belong to them.

“In the weight room, you’re more confined,” Samuelson said. “On the track, you get more conditioning done.”

In the weight room, players focus on bench-pressing or squats.

On the obstacle course, every muscle is targeted, Hafey said.

“It’s unconventional, but it gets them going,” he said. “It’s old-school – they’ve been using tires and sandbags and as the summer goes on, they’ll move on to hay bales.”

The fun of the tire workouts won’t last for long, however.

With hill sprints on the horizon, the group knows more work is in store.

“That’s the hardest part – hills,” Martin said, as the other boys nodded and laughed in agreement.

As the summer wears on, the hardest thing won’t be pushing tractor tires up and down a track or hill-sprints.

Instead, it will be keeping up the level of intensity.

“You get tired – you’ve got to get up early and keep pushing yourself,” Samuelson said. “When we’re out here together, we can’t cheat. If you have to do 30 push-ups, you can’t do 25.

“Can’t let it all get away from you. You can’t just sit around, playing video games. You have to keep working.”

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