Summer opens with Smithville camp
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
For some high school athletes the thought of spending the first Friday night and Saturday morning practicing their sport is crazy. Not football players.
This weekend Smithville hosted Pleasant Hill, Pembroke Hill and Richmond for the final two days of its first team camp with all four teams gaining valuable scrimmage time early in the summer. The teams got plenty of practice against teammates during the week but the final two days of their camp these schools put on their uniforms and got to hit teams with different color shirts.
This small four-team scrimmage at the end of camp wouldn’t have been the norm a few years ago. Teams usually had the standard camp time and then a team camp at a college either somewhere in the Metro or out of town. The Missouri State High School Activities Association gave more contact practice time starting last summer and that has helped schools get into pads even earlier in the summer.
Smithville coach Greg Smith said a smaller set of scrimmages like the ones the Warriors hosted this weekend is a great way to get younger players accustomed to the program even earlier in the summer.
“It’s a good experience for the kids,” Smith said. “It keeps it fresh. It gives them a shot of energy to start the summer and we carry that energy throughout the summer. That is the point of having this early camp. Get them energized about the sport, get them thinking about the sport and hopefully they can carry that through the summer in the weight room and 7-on-7’s.”
Pleasant Hill brought a large group with many underclassmen along with a big group of returning players. Roosters’ senior running back Hank Hudson said it was good to see some different things at the Smithville camp.
“It’s good to see a lot of different views from the running back position, a lot of different formations,” Hudson said. “It’s finally good to come out and hit somebody.”
Pleasant Hill is looking to get back to the playoffs and advance past the first round where a team like Richmond can’t do any better than it did in 2010. The Spartans haven’t lost a game since 2009 and are the defending Class 3 champs. Richmond senior Gabe Vandiver knows the Spartans will be the hunted in 2011 and the work they put in know will help get them ready for the season.
“Our 15-0 season isn’t going to score us any points this year,” Vandiver said. “We are going to work for it again just like we did last year.
“It’s good to get right into contact. We are getting good hitting in and it is good to get right back into it.”
Pembroke Hill brought a small group to Smithville but even though there weren’t that many Raiders on the sidelines, it meant every player there got plenty of reps.
“It’s a lot of fun, even if we don’t have everyone we want out here it’s still a lot of fun,” Raiders senior Patrick Freitag said. “As long as we execute I think we can compete with any team out here.”
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