Warriors hit the practice field
by Sparta Live | July 30, 2009 12:00 am
The WCHS football team has been working hard all summer long, but that routine got ramped up a few notches when the pads went on and the hitting began Monday.
The Warriors were on the field at 7 a.m. Monday and ready to start official practice in preparation for their August 21st season opener. Shortly after the start, the sound of pads popping were echoing across Allen Drive.
Practice kicks off each day with defensive practice, which lasts until approximately 8:30 a.m. Following a break to cool off in the shade, the team returns to the field for an offensive practice. After another break, they take the shoulder pads off and return to the field for work on special teams and the conditioning portion of practice. The intense practice ends each day at 11 a.m. During that four-hour time frame, there is a lot of teaching going on at every spot on the field.
Approximately 60 players are in fall camp for the Warriors. That number includes 25 freshmen, whose practice levels are just as intense as the varsity levels. Tracy Malone and his staff of seven coaches break the team up for group work and also do team work during each session. Malone’s staff includes Montuka Murray, Chris Leak, Mike Harris, Jerry Lowery, Bill Harris, Brent Farley and new addition, Caleb Collier, who will be doing his student in White County this semester. Collier is the son of former WCHS agriculture teacher, Bobby Collier.
After four days of practice, the Warriors will wrap up the first week of practice with a three-way scrimmage on Friday. WCHS is definitely not shying away from competition with their initial work against other teams. Trousdale County and Loudon will be coming to Warrior Stadium for a controlled scrimmage. Both teams advanced far into the playoffs last season.
Trousdale County, in fact, is the undefeated defending Class A state champion and a perennial power in high school football. They also won the state in 2005 in another undefeated season. Loudon advanced to the 2A quarterfinals last season before falling to eventual state champion, Alcoa. Loudon has been to the playoffs four straight seasons compiling a 36-13 mark. In 2008, they finished 8-5 with two of those losses coming at the hands of Alcoa. The scrimmages are set to begin at 9 a.m.
Coach Malone talked about Friday’s scrimmage, “I’m real anxious to see how we do Friday. These are two really good football teams coming in here. We’ll see where we stack up in a hurry. It will be a controlled scrimmage with each team going against each of the other two. One will probably go 10 offensive plays against each of the other defensives then switch it up. We’ll work from different spots on the field. It’ll be good for our kids to go against someone else.”
Malone also talked about the first two days of practice, “I think overall we’re still a little ahead of the game. We put in a ton of our stuff before Monday got here so that’s been really good. We’ve been able to jump right in and run a full package on offense and defense. Our numbers are where they need to be. We’ve not had any absenteeism. The kids are showing up. We are still finding out who we can count on, who’s going to keep working. We’re really pushing those guys to take the next step. A lot of these guys haven’t played a lot of football. We don’t return very many players with experience from last year. The ones who did play last year really stand out. They know how to prepare. I think some of our depth problems in practice won’t be as great in the scrimmage. Overall, I feel pretty good. I think our coaching staff is doing a good job of trying to teach these players.”
In addition to the high school football team, the middle school gridiron squad also hit the field Monday for their first practice. Coach Luke Dycus has more than 80 players out for the seventh and eighth grade team. Add to that, practices going on during the afternoons for the two different youth organizations and there is plenty of excitement associated with football in White County.