Local Sports, Sports

Area football players, coaches reflect on first week of preseason practice

Local football programs have officially closed the door on Week 1 of preseason practices. From University building their 2019 program around young faces, to Trinity’s fist-year team, every group has something to be happy about.

Class A

Trinity Christian

Heading into the opening week of preseason camp with a first-year team, Trinity football expected a fair amount of growth in a short time period. With one week of practice now wrapped up, head coach Marcus Law is happy with the team’s progress.

“It’s been really good. It’s been positive to see the kids come back in and pick up on the things they started learning during the three-weeks period,” he said. “One of the cool things has also been seeing how the younger kids have started to develop. To see them make as catch in a drill and see that look on their face as they realize, ‘I can make that play.’ ”


It’s not unusual to see preps football teams struggle to find their rhythm as they open the preseason — such jitters are no worry for Clay-Battelle this fall. C-B hit the ground running during its first week of practice with senior Levi Carrico feeling confident in the team’s start.

“I believe that our team is looking good so far collectively,” he said. “We are all getting comfortable with knowing the playbook inside and out, and our defense has been doing tremendously well throughout this whole first week.”

“This team doesn’t just feel like a football team at the moment. It feels more like a family.”



There was no shortage of concerns for the coaching staff at University to begin the week. The Hawks entered preseason camp with a team consisting of 80 percent underclassmen. Among the losses from last fall were three current members of NCAA Division 1 rosters and the program’s defensive coordinator. After one week of practice, there are still issues, but head coach John Kelley finds himself a bit more optimistic about the upcoming season.

“We had an excellent first week, and we accomplished everything we planned,” Kelley said. “We’re young, small and inexperienced, but we have a great work ethic and unity. I was very pleased with the week.”

“We’re excited for the future with this group. We’re going to see freshmen and sophomores get a lot of playing time on Friday night, but they’re ahead of the curve for their age and they’re good enough to handle it,” assistant coach Jason White added.


For the Mohigans, a major focus entering this season is returning a winning culture and atmosphere with the program. While such a task is certainly not accomplished in a short time period, MHS junior Cam Rice believes the team is off to a good start.

“There has been a ton of great leadership and competitive spirit. Just keep putting everything together piece by piece and eliminating the little mistakes,” he said.


There have been many tough times in recent memory for Preston football. So as the team entered preseason camp this fall with a large group of upperclassmen with varsity experience — coming off one of the more competitive summer three-week practice periods in program history — hopes were high within the program. The first week of practice did plenty to add to the excitement, as the team hit the gridiron with plenty of energy and momentum.

“Through the first week of camp we had much improvement,” senior Jesse Gribble said. “The younger guys have started to be one with the team and started getting into the transition of being a part of Preston football, and the older guys have been leading them well. We are going in the right direction and improving day-by-day.”

“So far we have been very organized because of all the players returning and getting positions filled we need in advance. We are coming along and turning into a great football team.”