Archive for Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chieftains find modified summer schedule a better fit

EJ Field and Ben Myers battle at the line of scrimmage in June at Tonganoxie High football camp. The Chieftains’ annual five-day camp came almost two months earlier than usual this year.

EJ Field and Ben Myers battle at the line of scrimmage in June at Tonganoxie High football camp. The Chieftains’ annual five-day camp came almost two months earlier than usual this year.

July 28, 2009

This time last year, Tonganoxie High’s football players were sweating through camp, fine-tuning formations and fundamentals.

This year, all that is so far behind them it’s not even in the rearview mirror. The Chieftains broke camp way back on June 5.

A rule change by the Kansas State High School Activities Association which allows football coaches greater summer instruction time modified the way THS coach Mark Elston approached the summer schedule this year. An early-summer camp allowed Tonganoxie’s staff to lay down the foundation for the 2009 season three months before the first game and expand on those things throughout the summer.

From a coaching standpoint, Elston said it was an adjustment.

“We kind of had to teach on the fly and teach the terminology,” he said.

But getting those things over with early should prove advantageous when preseason practice begins in August. Junior Dylan Scates said the new setup was ideal.

“I think it’s going to help us because we get it out of the way and then we’ll just have more time to work on it over the summer,” Scates said.

Senior Justin Jacobs agreed.

“It’s going to help us out because we can get all of our plays down and perfect them as the summer goes on.”

Learning things in June gave the Chieftains more time for their brains to soak up the knowledge, so junior Jeremy Carlisle said he was happy to have an earlier camp.

“Once you learn something,” he said, “even if you don’t go over it you usually don’t forget it that easily.”

Senior Richie Ridihalgh said he and his fellow linemen, a group made up of mostly seniors, used the summer to perfect their knowledge of the offense.

“Most of us know the plays already but we’ve been getting to go over the new blocking schemes,” he said. “That helps a lot, too.”

The best part of a long summer of football that kicks off with camp, though, might be the way the revamped schedule allows the players to get in great condition prior to the season. Senior EJ Field said that made the format perfect.

“I kind of like it because it gets me back in shape and everything,” Field said, “gets me ready for the season.”

It prepares the players in more ways than one. Ridihalgh said all that time working and playing together has left the Chieftains longing to get the season started. Their enthusiasm, he added, is off the charts.

“Everybody’s just really ready to play,” Ridihalgh said.

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