High school football practices in full swing

Published 11:27 am Friday, August 16, 2013

Isle of Wight Academy players clap on other players after running through conditioning excercises in a recent practice -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Isle of Wight Academy players clap on other players after running through conditioning excercises in a recent practice — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

ISLE OF WIGHT—Football is coming — it can almost be felt in the air, if not heard by the big hits happening on the practice fields in the area.

Each team took to the practice fields two weeks ago to begin getting ready for the upcoming season, which will start Friday, Aug. 23, when Isle of Wight Academy travels to play Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach at 7 p.m.


Coach Dale Chapman said practices have been going good, though he’d prefer the weather be hotter, as far as getting them in shape to play in the more typical August heat.

“This is not my traditional type of practice where it is hot, hot, hot,” he said. “We’ve had some rain for the first part of camp, and some days it has been hot. But I have to make sure they are in shape and ready for it.”

The players for the most part came in to camp in good shape, Chapman said.

“We had some guys that have gone to a strength and conditioning coach in the offseason, and others who don’t play spring sports who worked out in our gym,” he said. “Most of our guys are a year bigger, a year stronger and a year faster.” Chapman said his team was going to be young — he did have some skill position players who are upper classmen, but many are going to be sophomores. This is especially the case on the offensive line.

“The new offensive line is a big concern in practice,” he said. “But everyone has been doing a good job in learning the system.”

During the summer, the team ran 7-on-7 drills, so he feels like the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers have gotten some of the work they need.

Chapman said there really haven’t been any surprises from practice.

“We pretty much know our guys. We didn’t get a lot of turnover,” he said. “Everybody is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Everyone is working hard.”

Chapman said they have been scrimmaging and the team are looking forward to starting the season.


Windsor High School will kick off away against West Point on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.

Coach Chuck Parrish said things have been going fine in practice.

“The guys are doing a good job and getting better each day, which is obviously what we want to see,” he said.

Parrish said most of the players are multi-sport athletes, so they did a good job staying in shape over the spring by playing other sports. Guys have also been in the weight room getting stronger.

Parrish will be introducing a new offensive line, so that has received some work during practice.

“We are trying to get our young linemen ready to go,” he said. “And they are getting better every day, so I think they will be good to go.”

The team has been working well in the weather, and Parrish said he has been making sure they stay hydrated.


The Franklin Broncos will kick off in Onley against Nandua on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

Head Coach Darren Parker said the team has been going hard during practice.

“Practice has been going really well — this is a great group of kids who have been working very hard. They are very disciplined,” he said.

Parker said there have been a few gems in practice this year.

“We are finding new players every day,” he said. “Every day, somebody in practice is shining that we did not expect to shine. Quite a few kids that we thought we knew what they were about, are instead doing a great job. Everyone is excited about that, and it is great for the program.”

Parker starts practice at 6:30 a.m., when heat is less of an issue, though it still is hot some mornings.

“They are getting used to the weather,” he said. “The kids know it is football time, and they know the weather is hot. We can’t control that, not the elements, but we can control the attitudes — and they have great positive attitudes. We are just blessed to wake up, and do what we do at 6:30.”

The team had a good offseason, as far as the weight room is concerned — including the players that Parker mentioned earlier. They all did a good job as far as stepping up, he added.

“Everybody is stepping up to the plate — all of them are improving,” Parker said.

Right now, he said, the team is looking great and he is looking forward to playing in front of the fans.

“We are working on our third title,” Parker said. “God is awesome. God is great.”


Returning North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 8-Man League champions Southampton Academy will kick off the season against Lawrence Academy in Merry Hill, N.C. on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Head Coach Dale Marks said the players have been doing what is asked of them in practice.

“I pretty much knew what to expect this year, so it is different from last year,” Marks said. “We had more new kids last year.

“I know what everyone is going to do, what they can do, so I do feel like we are ahead of where we were last year going into this season.”

Conditioning hasn’t really been a problem.

“There have been a few kids who obviously worked hard in the off season, but I don’t like to single anybody out,” he said. “Overall, everybody has come in as expected. Hopefully we will be able to take that and translate it into a successful season.”

For the most part, practices have been about reiteration and tweaking, as not a lot has changed.

“It is just really about going over and relearning what knew, and just tweaking some things,” Marks said. “There are a few new things, based on some of the things we ended up doing at the end last year.

“But the attitude and work ethic are good. We are ready to get to the first game.”


Southampton High School kicks off in an away game against Poquoson on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7p.m.

New Head Coach Willie Gillus Jr., has been focusing his practice on learning a new system.

“Overall, it has been good,” he said. “We have a bright bunch of kids that are learning and practicing well.”

With that, comes spending a lot of time in the classroom.

“We are getting in early in the day and teaching. Teaching is very important,” Gillus said. “We got them in shape physically, now mentally, we are getting them in shape mentally.”

He said there have not been any issues with the weather.

“We did a good job of making sure they drank enough water before practice, so at practice they are good,” Gillus said. “Once they are there, it is too late.”

The defense has been a surprise, especially Coby Williams, but the emergence of kicker Russell Ballance at quarterback has also been noted by the staff.

“Those two are giving us a boost,” he said, though he couldn’t confirm that Ballance would be the starting QB.

“You can’t tell until you see the bullet flying. We’ll see after the scrimmages.”