Chargers and Chiefs prep for the upcoming grid campaign

Runnin-Runnin and Runnin-Runnin. Let’s Get It Started!

Heat acclimation sessions kicked off this week for high school football teams.

Carbondale Area and Lakeland were on the field getting the football juices flowing for the upcoming season.

Teams can have two sessions a day Monday, Wednesday and Friday and one session on Tuesday and Thursday with helmets and shoulder pads but not tackling-contact until next week.

Back in Action

At Carbondale Area, Charger head coach, Larry Gabriel III had 31 players participating in the sessions.

“You get a better idea once contact starts next week but at an initial glance you look to check some boxes,” said Gabriel. “We have decent size, we have athleticism but there is nothing like experience and that will be our challenge to overcome.”

A year ago, an experienced Charger team recovered from an 0-2 start to win seven of their last nine to make the District AA final.

At Lakeland, Chiefs head coach Jeff Wasilchak faced the experience challenge a year ago.

After a 1-4 start, the Chiefs went 4-1 to qualify for post season. Many of those players (13 seniors) return and won’t have to go through early season growing pains.

“You won’t know anything until you put full pads on,” said Wasilchak. “We are progressing slowly.”

Lakeland, which bumps up to AAA this season, is hovering around the 30 player mark at heat acclimation.

With 22 players needed for a full intra-squad scrimmage once full contact starts next week, hovering around 30 players makes practice a challenge from mapping out various schematic sessions to contact sessions to fundamental and conditioning work.

Both coaches, who have had seasons where rosters were in the mid 40’s, believe a number of factors have played a role in lower numbers in recent years.

“I believe you lose a few kids who don’t come out because of the concussion discussion and a few because of the commitment it takes to play football,” stated Wasilchak.

While Gabriel also cited those two reasons, he added a third. “A couple kids told me they have to work to help with the family finances.”

For the most part throughout the area, the concussion discussion and time commitment were over-riding factors.

Both coaches agree another factor is sports where you spend more time playing games rather than spending more time practicing (football) to play a game are a factor in the downward trend for football.

Contact

Next week, full pads, full contact and an end of the week scrimmage. The following weekend, the season starts.

While contact is allowed next week, many coaches limit contact to just a necessity level to gauge players.

Years ago, contact was full go in pre-season workouts nearly every day, more or less a survival approach to see which players were comfortable with contact.

Today, most full contact is limited to game day.

The approach continues to evolve. In years past, two weeks of full pads popping most of every day.

Today, a week of heat acclimation with no full contact, some pad popping next week then a week of pre-game sessions.

Let’s Get it Started!