Time flies; especially this time of year, and even more so when you’re a high school student soaking up fleeting days of summer vacation.
For Hood River Valley High School football players, the impending back-to-school buzz means getting ready for the fall season with conditioning and strength training, skills camp and daily-doubles. The team has a lot to prove this year and the first game is now less than a month away, so these last weeks of summer are not to be squandered by hanging out on the beach in the sunshine. At least, not all day anyway.
“The boys have had the opportunity to work out pretty much all summer,” coach Caleb Sperry said this week. “We had camp at the end of June, then continued with conditioning and strength training three days a week and seven-against-seven practice two days a week to work on fundamentals like passing and timing.”
To mix things up, players from Hood River, The Dalles, Columbia and Stevenson high schools have had a few informal seven-on-seven touch scrimmages against each other. The rounds of friendly competition have served as additional skills training as well as team building and camaraderie between the four Gorge schools.
“We’ve tried to provide as much opportunity as possible for them to be able to work out all summer,” Sperry said. “It’s a delicate balance between being a kid and enjoying summer and staying strong and being ready for the season.
“One big thing we believe in is the injury prevention aspect of staying active on a consistant basis. It’s obvious that staying strong and in shape is going to lessen the chance of injury.”
Sperry said the outlook for this season is strong. With more than 20 returning seniors and a lot of young talent, he recognized that “this year is the deepest the team has been in a long time.”
With a large group of experienced players, Sperry expects the Eagles to improve on last year’s 3-7 season in the Columbia River Conference.
“We were right in there for a lot of games; we just couldn’t get over the hump,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of guys and we’re looking forward to a fun year.”
This week is the state-wide moratorium week where coaches are not allowed to have contact with their athletes. The team will pick up training next week, followed by camp starting Aug. 13, daily doubles starting Aug. 20 and the first game on Aug. 31, at home vs. Sandy (7 p.m.).