For the past month, the Railroaders have been taking part in their summer football program. Starting on July 2, Sparks coach Rob Kittrell and his players have been getting together four days a week to freshen up on football. So far, Kittrell has been pleased.
“The summer has been good,” Kittrell said. “We decided to quicken the pace a little more as far as how we put stuff in just to try and have everything in by the time we get into pads. The varsity kids have been picking it up really well. We were a little worried about our receiver position but we’ve had a few kids step up and I think we’re going to be fine there. We have another group of kids that work very hard and do everything we ask, so that’s a pleasure.
“We want to put into place both schemes. We want the kids to know where to go, where to be, where to line up. Now is just a really good time to take advantage of fundamentals and focus on those.”
Kittrell has also been satisfied with the number of kids that have turned out for the practices.
“I’m very happy. We have a lot of kids,” Kittrell said. “We’re not having a JV team so we’re bringing those sophomores up to varsity. That’s going to give us about 40 on varsity with 11 sophomores. The turnout’s been good. I think we’ll have a little bit of depth and we’ll have some competition and that’s always good.”
Aside from regular team practices, Sparks has also taken part in 7-on-7 drills against other squads from local schools like Hug, Wooster and Incline. Kittrell said this is important for the player’s development because they are able to see and go up against the best from other schools.
While fundamentals and installing the base systems has been the main focus of the summer workouts, one key area that Kittrell wants his players to develop does not pertain to X’s and O’s.
“Obviously we want to get better and better every week. Defensively, I want them to learn to trust one another and to learn to be in the right spot. Offensively, the same thing. I want them to trust their teammates. I want them to learn the right patterns and be in the right spots.”
The summer camp will wrap up on August 2 before the Railroaders get to put on pads and helmets on August 9 for the beginning of fall practice. Kittrell said he is looking forward for the real football to get underway.
“I’m excited just to see who’s got what, who’s going to step up and get after it.”