The tweets of coach’s whistles echoed across practice fields all around Madison County Tuesday as the first official day of the high school fall sports season arrived.
Optimism is in the air for all four of the county football squads, who will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 25.
“I just think we had a great summer so far,” Jonathan Alder head coach Brett Glass said. “Our kids are real dedicated in the summer so, a lot of what we’re doing now was done in our camp days, it’s just kind of an extension of that.”
Alder qualified for the state playoffs the last two seasons and the coaching staff knows that there is plenty of work to be done in order to get back to that level again. Past experiences alone won’t win games this year, but it does bring an excitement to the start of the season, knowing a lot of those same players return.
“There’s just an excitement of a new season, new expectations, a new conference, a new senior class looking to be the guys who are the leaders, there’s just an all-around excitement for everybody,” Glass said.
The Pioneers were going with a modified two-a-day schedule with a longer more intense practice in the morning and more of a modified walk through practice in the afternoon.
With the temperatures in the low 80s Tuesday, managing the issues with the heat were much easier than they would be on a 90-plus degree day. That and the work kids put in during the summer conditioning program have helped the Pioneers get off on the right foot.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape, I think everybody is somewhat behind on thinking they’re in better shape than they actually are but we’ll take care of that,” Glass said.
“It’s nice when we can get out here and they’re not all huffing and puffing by 11 o’clock and kind of done for the day, it’s also know it’ll probably be 97 degrees on Aug. 25, so it might be better to have a little bit of heat too.”
Tempo. Tempo. Tempo.
That was the theme of the first day of practice for the Roughriders.
You couldn’t go a minute of practice Tuesday without someone yelling the word. It was just a friendly reminder from coaches and players that the team had to keep moving and working toward its goals.
The fact that coach Shawn Buescher is stressing things like how quickly his team is moving from one play to another and less on how they’re actually doing on the field gives you just a glimpse of what could be on the horizon this fall.
West Jeff has played a monster schedule the last two years and the young ′Riders struggled at times to match-up. The team now has the look of a veteran group that knows what is expected of it and is in a hurry to get there.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.