Players embrace 1st day of football practice with enthusiasm
TribLIVE Sports Videos
High school football practices opened up Monday, and so did the skies.
A heavy afternoon downpour made the first day of camp a soggy one for local teams, but that did little to deter coaches and players who have worked all summer toward the season's first live practice.
Kittanning opened with two sessions on their Rayburn Township practice field. Defense took center stage in the morning practice, and offense was left to battle the elements in the second workout.
“It was a typical day one. Guys get excited to be out here, and with that excitement, a little bit of the technique goes out the window because they're ready to hit one another,” Kittanning coach Frank Fabian said. “But for effort and enthusiasm, it was very good for a day one, even working through the rain.”
Fabian' players ended their afternoon session with a series of head-to-head, 100-yard sprints that brought the competitiveness out of his players.
More than anything, the players appeared to be happiest to go through their team offense and defense periods against actual opposition from a scout team.
“It's nice to be able to hit something other than a garbage can in drills,” senior lineman Brady Kirkwood said. “Tomorrow, we'll get to do Oklahomas (a hitting drill), and that's always a fun thing. I'm real excited to get started, and hopefully we go out with a bang this year.”
Kirkwood might be disappointed to find out that his counterparts at West Shamokin got a head start on the Oklahoma drill, which the Wolves used to kick off their first live session of the day. With two sessions complete, West Shamokin coach Jon McCullough is happy with the way his players responded to live action.
“It wasn't bad for a first day. We aren't where we need to be yet, but as long as we continue to improve, we'll be fine,” McCullough said. “Other than a few (bad) snaps and some little things, our guys pushed through the rain. If it rains on a Friday night, we'll have to deal with it, so it's good to work on being an all-weather team.”
One thing both McCullough and Fabian talked about was the importance of live practices for players trying to earn a spot in the lineup.
Fabian reminded his younger players after practice that camp was their chance to impress the coaches and earn a spot in the lineup or on special teams, while McCullough said his players know there are positions up for grabs.
“We saw that we have some younger kids who are going to compete for spots,” McCullough said. “There's four or five positions where there's some real competition to start, and I think that's good.”
Both the Wolves and Wildcats share high expectations coming off last season. West Shamokin earned its first playoff berth ever with a 6-3 regular season, while Kittanning's 9-0 regular season earned the school its first conference title since 1976.
But with the first crack of the pads for practice in the 2014 season, both teams realize those achievements are part of history. They, like Ford City, Apollo-Ridge, Freeport and the rest of the Allegheny Conference, begin with a clean slate.
“Last season is in the past, and our coach always says the good Lord put our eyes on the front of our head so we could see forward,” Kirkwood said. “Last year's seniors wrote their chapter in the book, and now it's time for us to write ours.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carlynton names Yoder interim football coach
- Schoolboy pick of the week: BVA
- Statewide high school football notebook: Clairton’s scoring gaining attention across Pa.
- Through the years: Vikings rolled in hurricane-delayed game
- HS highlight reel: Plum suspends soccer coach for season
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Q&A: Plum’s Wil Fuhrer
- The Birdie needs a week off
- Alle-Kiski Valley HSFB notebook: Petrishen makes stop in Alle-Kiski Valley
- Previewing some of Week 4’s top matchups
- Bishop Canevin football living on the edge
- DC Picks: Connellsville area teams favored