ShareThis Page

Players, coaches get back to work

| Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007

Ford City and Kittanning kicked off the 2007 high school football season with training camp practices at 9 a.m. Monday.

The start time wasn't the only thing the Armstrong County rivals shared in common, as both teams focused on fundamentals.

"We start with the basics, although we conditioned all summer," Ford City coach John Bartolovic said. "We start from square one and do some blocking and tackling and build off of that each day.

"Our tackling was just on dummies and form tackling, and then we went live up front this afternoon."

Ford City's afternoon live session was the most hitting the reigning Allegheny Conference champions did yesterday. Bartolovic said his team won't go "full bore" until Wednesday.

While Ford City focused on tackling, Kittanning went over blocking. During the Wildcats' afternoon session, the offensive line concentrated on blocking schemes.

Kittanning coach Sam Panchik said the Wildcats will focus on defense today.

"There was a lot of sluggishness today," Panchik said. "But, as the second session ended, we started seeing more positive things."

Panchik said he looks for enthusiasm and aggressiveness on the first day of training camp.

"I want to see who is going after somebody," he said. "I want to see who is going to make big plays for us."

Neither Ford City nor Kittanning have many returning starters. The Sabers lost 16 starters, including Derek Bush, who was the Leader Times Offensive Player of the Year, and Josh Hospodar, who was the Leader Times Defensive Player of the Year.

Kittanning lost 15 seniors, including four-year starter Ryan Shepard and starting linemen Kelly Knepshield and Adam Kutch.

However, Bartolovic said some of his assistant coaches were surprised with how much the younger players knew about the system on the first day.

"We had quite a bit in," he said. "Our older guys and the guys who we're expecting to play knew what was going on. That core nucleus definitely knows what's going on mentally."

Both coaches agreed that the first day of training camp is not a good indicator of how the season will turn out.

"As far as execution and X's and O's go, our guys know what to do," Bartolovic said. "Are we going to be able to do it• By comparison to other teams, I'm sure we got a few question marks. Hopefully, those will be answered through the scrimmages by the first game."

Panchik, on the other hand, said it wasn't a good indicator because he "can't remember ever having a good first day" of training camp.

"As soon as you put on the pads and helmets, things change mentally," Panchik said. "You might think you (have a good first practice), but not really."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me