Tigers get a head start on football season
FARMER’S KORNER – The current group of Summit High School football players is not used to thinking pigskin in May. But with the first spring football camp in recent memory just completed, new head coach Rob Royer served notice that there is no room for old habits on the 2002 team.
Thirty-two players attended the three-day camp last week at SHS – the first official gathering of the Rob Royer era. Royer took over for Tom Dickey, who resigned from the team in November after 12 seasons at the helm.
“This has been the thing I’ve been concentrating most on probably since January,” Royer said. “To actually get in here and have the kids going through it and understanding it and having a good time – it’s been great.”
The Tigers focused only on offense during the three, two-and-a-half hour sessions. They introduced new plays, discussed terminology and ran position-specific drills.
“We’ve never been out here before the summer started, working on our next year’s playbook,” said Mike Allard, who will be a senior this fall. “I think we’ll be a lot more prepared.”
The camp was just the beginning of summer training for the Tigers leading up to their Aug. 30 opener against Skyview. A full-contact camp in Durango is planned for June, and a weight-lifting program is ongoing. For the past few years under Dickey, the team didn’t gather until August.
“This year we’ll know the entire playbook before the season even starts so we can progress faster than we did last year,” Allard said.
The camp was a chance for Royer to get a sense of his personnel and where they’ll fit in. He’ll plan the offensive scheme – the run-pass ratio – based on what he saw over the three days.
“It’s been a good evaluation,” Royer said.
Most of next year’s projected starters were there. It’s May, but the team is anxious to don the pads.
“We just can’t wait to play,” Allard said “That’s what we’ve been talking about for weeks now.
“We’ve got more guys showing up each day,” he continued, “so throughout the summer we just have to keep them here. We just have to stay in shape and work. It’ll be worth it later.”
Conspicuously absent was last year’s quarterback Joey Van Ness, whose plans for football season remain unclear. Last year’s JV starter, Preston Johnson, who will be a junior, has gotten most of the snaps at quarterback. While Royer made no decisions about who will and won’t start, he has gotten a sense of who is and isn’t committed.
“We’ve got a great group of core kids, who have been here lifting Tuesday and Thursday mornings and who have been at the camp,” Royer said. “We’ve got a great core for next year’s team.”
Royer hired South Dakotan Curtis Davis to be defensive coordinator, which Royer was under Dickey last year. Davis will be a physical education teacher at the high school and will arrive in June. Other assistants need to be hired, too.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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