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Summer sweat bonds teams

Sumer workouts are winding down for area football teams but thebenefits are long-term, reaching deep into the state playoffs.After lifting weights, running and doing agility drills for twomonths, the players are able to adapt to the energy-sappingpreseason practices which begin Aug. 4.

The players and coaches bond as they share the demands of summerworkouts. Many of the schools begin drills before 7 a.m.

Brookhaven coach Tucker Peavey said he has been pleased with histeam’s summer program. “Our kids realize the importance of it. It’sbeen a good summer for us.”

Peavey’s Panthers won the Class 4A state championship in 2004.They were Region 6-4A champions last season.

Numbers have been encouraging at BHS. Peavey said as many as 85players have participated in one morning session. He splits thesquad in half. Alternating the workout between linemen and skillpositions.

The Panthers run stadium steps, do plyometric drills, and liftweights at a variety of stations. Two days a week are reserved forthe upper body and two days for the lower body.

Loyd Star coach Ryan Ross is a devout disciple of the summerregimen.

“It affects our team greatly,” said Ross. “The nucleus for yourfootball team is born and developed during the summer. It’s thoseplayers who commit and sacrifice and work together who becomeleaders.”

Ross said the players encourage each other during the summerworkouts. “They pat each other on the back. They know that they aredoing it for a bigger and better cause.

“It’s like an army platoon,” Ross pointed out. “They bondbecause they do it together. They see that the coaches care aboutthem, too, because they are out there with them.”

Loyd Star has averaged around 30 players per workout thissummer. The Hornets work out on Mondays, Wednesdays andThursdays.

Bogue Chitto coach Gareth Sartin voiced the benefits of summerworkouts. “It definitely brings the players together when they workout. They get used to each other’s personality. The more people whocome to summer workouts, builds better team chemistry.”

Sartin said camaraderie is a benefit for his players. “Even whenthey get through, they hang around 45 minutes to an hour, justtalking football and joking together. You have fewer problems whenthe kids work out during the summer.”

Lawrence County coach Mike Davis said his summer program drawsplayers from all corners of he county. “These kids come from allover the county. That means they have to sacrifice and set theiralarm clocks early.

“We tell them all the time, if it was easy, everybody in theschool would do it. It requires a special effort. It makes us aunit, a family.”

The Cougars labor through 2-hour workouts, starting at 7:30 a.m.on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“We’ve had good turnouts this summer,” Davis pointed out. “Weaverage around 55 players.”

Thursday, instead of going through a workout, Davis gave hisplayers a break. They rode a school bus to Clinton for the HighSchool All-Star Game and watched LCHS graduate Julius Magee playdefense.

Brookhaven Academy coach Herbert Davis Jr. believes in keepingthe team united instead of allowing split workouts at differenttimes of the day. “The main reason we lift together is to keep themtogether. We get to see each other sweat and work hard.

“Leadership develops during the summer,” said Davis who hasreturned to BA after a 15-year absence. Over the years, his teamshave played in five state championship games, winning twice. His1993 BA team won the Class AA state title.

Davis said his team will camp three days at Percy Quin StatePark when preseason practice kicks off Aug. 28. “We will eat, sleepand drink football. It’s an opportunity for the players and coachesto get better acquainted.”