BLACKSVILLE — It’s amazing what a difference one week can make. Just ask Clay-Battelle football coach Ryan Wilson.
The Cee-Bees began their three-week summer practices this week, and Wilson is pleasantly surprised with the progress his team has already made.
“From looking at them Monday to looking at them today, they’ve learned a lot,” Wilson said. “They have a good understanding of our pass game, and they’re starting to get an idea of our run game as well.”
Senior wide receiver and tight end Hunter Brewer also said he is happy with the development so far, particularly amongst his younger teammates.
“We’ve been getting a lot better and putting in a lot of hard work,” he said. “The younger kids are showing a lot of improvement and getting some solid experience.”
For Wilson, learning is a major focal point during the summer months. Opportunities for learning a system and developing chemistry are limited in the fall before the season is under way, and in Wilson’s view, the more growth his players can make now, the better.
“If we get to know this stuff now, then we’ll already have it down come season,” Brewer said of the learning opportunities.”
C-B finished its 2017 campaign with a 6-4 record, missing the playoffs after a stout 5-1 start to the season. This fall, the Cee-Bees hope to rekindle the spark they found at the beginning of last year. For senior Nathan Swaniger, hopes are high to return to the post-season.
“It would be nice to make a run to the state playoffs for the first time in five years,” he said. “Other than that, we just want to go out and play hard.”
It seems the expectations won’t differ much for the Cee-Bees compared to previous years, which is to be expected with a veteran such as Wilson at the helm.
“Our goals haven’t changed. We want to go out, win all our games, win the conference, and make it back into the state playoffs,” Wilson said.
What it will take to do that is another question itself, but Wilson believes the start to summer workouts is a good way to get under way.
“Things have been going well,” he said. “The turnout has been great, which is always good for a school of our size. We have a good group of guys out so far.”
Wilson is also preaching strength and conditioning to his squad in addition to on-field training, which is a component he believes to be critical for the success of a team which can often find itself outsized and outnumbered on the gridiron.
“I think another big thing is that we want them to keep up with the strength program. This offseason, our strength coach has had them working hard,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of things to do in the summer, but I think it’s important to still find time to get your workouts in.”
As summer practices carry on, you can be sure Wilson and the Cee-Bees will be working on returning to the field this fall bigger and better than ever.