The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

June 17, 2014

County football teams take to field for first practice: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — Are you ready for some football?

Players all around Marion County were Monday night when the first day of the three-week live period of football practice began.

While other sports were also able to practice, the three area schools were out on the football fields beginning what each of them hopes to be a successful season.

But with the three-week live period of practice comes different strategy and different emotions.

At East Fairmont, senior quarterback Jake Delaney led the way, instructing players on where to go during defensive drills. At North Marion, players focused on fundamentals and weight lifting. And at Fairmont Senior, young quarterbacks meshed with their running backs and receivers during a plethora of offensive installment.

Either way you look at it, all three teams were working on something.

And as practices begin, so, too, does another year of story lines in the communities around Marion County.

Will the Bees be able to improve on a 3-7 season with the only senior signal caller in the county?  Will the Huskies be able to protect a young quarterback with a stout offensive line? Or will the Polar Bears find success in the fresh face of Dom Smith?

Those questions can’t be answered after the first day of practice, though.

For some coaches, they’d just as much simply bat an eyelash at these three weeks of workouts.

“To be honest, I’m not a big fan of it,” North Marion coach Daran Hays said on Day One of practice. “This year we’re going to be a lot different now because of that.”

So for the Huskies, the first day of practice was spent lifting weights, learning fundamentals such as footwork and getting back together as a group.

“We’re working on our five to 10 fundamentals, and that’s where we’re going to improve,” Hays said. “I feel like in terms of football, it’s a lot more of an advantage to a Fairmont Senior or to a Lincoln. They can work on their timing and their pitching and catching the ball. In terms of us, of course we can get use out of it. The biggest thing we can get out of it is conditioning.”

But for those teams like Lincoln and Fairmont Senior, as Hays said, will in fact utilize their time on the field to their advantage.

“It’s tough on our lineman; anyone looks good blocking air,” Fairmont Senior coach J.L. Abbott said. “But we do get to work on putting the ball in the air. That’s what we like to do over here.”

While the Polar Bears worked some on their individual groups, separating lineman, receivers and backs, they finished practice with a full-team of offense and ran plays that the Fairmont Senior coaches had installed previously.

Abbott believes installing the plays quickly moves his team right along.

“With us it’s just being able to come back in August, and we won’t have to install these formations,” he said. “Just get them mentally ready to line up and know the passing tree and the running checks. That makes August a whole lot easier. Our stuff is easy.”

As for Hays?

“This year we’re not going to be teaching our X’s and O’s. I told them that if you learn a new skill in math class in June you’re not going to remember it by the time September rolls around.”

Just hours before that, East Fairmont came out of the gate and worked on defensive back drills, getting the secondary ready for the upcoming season.

The drills also gave Delaney a chance to mesh with his receivers just one year after throwing for nearly 2,000 yards but seeing his top target, Scotty Shroyer, graduate.

All three teams took different approaches to the first day of official practice, but they’re hoping that their difference in approaches will all lead to the same result: a fun year of football in Marion County.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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