• Bill Caine, Contributing Writer

Football Jackets prepare for upcoming season

THE WOODFORD COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL football team prepares for the 2017 season with drills at Community Stadium. The season begins next month. (Photo by Bill Caine Photography www.billcaine.com)

With the blow of a whistle, training camp has started for the Woodford County High School football team. For this group of young men, the remainder of their summer nights will be spent on the field learning their craft. The players will be learning both offensive and defensive schemes. Coaches are pushing the players to rise up and find out who the leaders will be. Countless drills to ensure speed and agility will fill their nights. The grind is hard, but you do not see anyone complaining. "The kids are hungry to learn," said Offensive Coordinator Ashton Bailey. "Hard work was put in at the weight room sessions all winter to prepare for this time. We are a very young team trying to figure out who we are but we'll be fast and play fast." On one side of the field, the quarterback prospects were going through footwork drills and across the way the special teams unit was executing punt drills. In a little over a month, the first game of the season takes place at the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic in Danville. A week later, the chants of "Hail Woodford" will rain down on the field as Friday night lights becomes the hot ticket in town. People show up early for home games and some tailgate as well. The fans will arrive wearing their black and gold. For now, the coaches are focusing on the conditioning side of training and getting the boys ready to take the field in short order. Soon, positions will be claimed, but for now, the battle will continue to win a spot in the starting 11. "The best player will start for this team," said Bailey. "If a freshman is working the hardest, then a freshman will start. We want leaders and kids that ask for more." The coaching staff will spend this time getting the players in the best physical condition they can for the opener. The weather for many Fridaynight games in August and early September can be humid, so players must be physically able to handle the muggy weather. A keynote in practice was the water breaks. Players have a constant struggle to stay hydrated, and the coaches make sure they get frequent breaks to do so. "This will be a fun group to watch develop into football players," Bailey said. "With all of the inexperience, there will be aches and pains, but the excitement is there. The willingness to battle is there and the want to learn is there." On a gorgeous July night in Woodford County, the work is being done to have a fun, hard-fought season.

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