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Hard workouts help football players survive

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Those famous words, once uttered by NFL Hall of Fame and GreenBay Packers coaching legend Vince Lombardi, ring loud and clear,especially on the football field.

Coaches always stress the importance of conditioning. That’s whyfootball players labor through an intense offseason program ofweightlifting, agility drills, plyometrics and running.

“Games are won and lost in June and July,” proclaimed one highschool coaching great. Nowadays, it’s a matter of survival.

State championship football teams work hard year-round. There’s nochoice in the matter. It’s a MUST.

Coaches send their players to football camps during the summer.Many teams participate in 7-on-7 passing camps. They run, throw andcatch the football while other students are cruising the boulevardtrying to meet girls.

Such is life for the high school athlete.

It has been a short summer. At Brookhaven Academy for example, newhead coach Herbert Davis, Jr. will work his Cougars through onemore week of summer conditioning before giving them a week off torecharge their batteries.

They start preseason practice a week earlier than the publicschools, kicking things off July 28, The public or MHSAA membersbegin practice Aug. 4. School starts a day later.

So much for two-a-days.

Construction continues on BA’s field house and weight trainingroom. Davis sincerely believes it will be “the best in the area”when completed.

In case you missed it, most area schools have either remodeled orenlarged their weight training facilities. Large mirrors line thewalls and new equipment is a popular attraction, too, as coachescompete for the services of athletes in their respectiveschools.

Speaking of college football, The SPORTING NEWS hascrowned Georgia its preseason No. 1 football team. LSU, thedefending national champion, is ranked among the Top 5. Florida isconsidered a darkhorse contender for the national title butsuperman QB Tim Tebow must stay healthy.

Quarterbacks and running backs absorb a physical beating week-inand week-out in the Southeastern Conference. It certainly helps tohave two or three talented backups at both positions.

Magazines and newspapers will crank out their respective lists ofTop 10s and Top 25s before the season kicks off in late August.Anticipation and hopes are high for the 2008 campaign.

Five players and two coaches from this area will participate innext Thursday night’s Mississippi Association of Coaches HighSchool All-Star Football Game at Mississippi College in Clinton.They are Coach Tucker Peavey and center Darion Smith of Brookhaven,Coach Tommy Clopton and running back Roy Williams of Wesson,linebacker Julius Magee of Lawrence County, and quarterback PercyTurner and defensive back Cornelius Smith of Jefferson County.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Robinson-Hale Stadium on the MCcampus. Pregame introductions begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Central Mississippi Ole Miss Club will present the annual RebelReunion party on Tuesday, July 15, at the Mississippi Trade Mart indowntown Jackson, featuring new Ole Miss head football coachHouston Nutt, head men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy, headbaseball coach Mike Bianco, head women’s basketball coach ReneeLadner, and athletic director Pete Boone, plus other athleticcoaches and officials.

The social hour begins at 5 p.m. with the program starting at 6.Tickets for the Rebel Reunion are $20 for adults and $5 for kids,age 5 to 18; and will be available at the door. No advance ticketsare required.

Admission to the Rebel Reunion provides catering by OutbackSteakhouse & Newk’s, plus various children activities. A silentauction fundraiser will be held and merchandise will be availablefor purchase from the Rebel Shop booth at the event.

For more information, contact John Dubberly, President, @601-981-3893, Vice-President Erica Stutzman @ 601-914-2116 or GlenWaddle @ 601-506-3186.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com