Locals expect busy summer of camps, passing leagues and weights

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 4, 2004

[5/29/04]Summer is a time to relax, recharge the batteries, and maybe head out of town for a few days’ vacation unless you’re part of a high school football team.

Warren County’s football players will hit the gym and head to camp this summer to prepare themselves for next season. The offseason regimen is nothing new, but it has left some coaches wondering where the summer went.

“It has come to a point where you have to do it,” said Vicksburg High coach Alonzo Stevens, whose team will attend five camps this summer in addition to daily workouts in the weight room. “Everybody’s doing it, and when you’re trying to stay right there in the hunt you’ve got to do it, too.”

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Vicksburg will be the busiest of Warren County’s four teams this summer. The Gators will once again participate in the Jackson Passing League every Tuesday from June 15 to July 6, then begin a grueling camp schedule.

Stevens will also send players to camps at LSU, Florida State, Grambling, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss, in addition to the school’s own Bigger, Faster, Stronger camp on July 24. Practice begins on Aug. 2.

“The passing league should help us a lot. It’ll get some guys some repetitions,” Stevens said, adding that the camps serve largely the same purpose. “You’ve got some kids that have been in the program, but haven’t had much playing time. The more you can play them in the summer, the better off they’re going to be.”

Warren Central, St. Aloysius, and Porters Chapel also will be busy in the weight room this summer, but won’t attend as many camps as Vicksburg High.

WC will send some players to a 7-on-7 passing camp at Ole Miss on June 10, and is considering a trip to Mississippi State’s camp. The bulk of the Vikings’ work this summer will come off the field, though. The team will lift weights and run three days a week.

“It gives the kids a little more chance to enjoy their summer and be free of that without doing too much,” said WC coach Curtis Brewer, adding the one-day format of the Ole Miss camp was preferable to the Jackson Passing League for his team. “They like going (to camp), they like the 7-on-7. But the Jackson league you have to go every week and it becomes a drain.”

St. Al won’t attend any camps this summer, instead focusing on weight training and conditioning. Flashes coach Jim Taylor said it was hard to gather enough players to do too much more than that.

Many of St. Al’s football players also play baseball or basketball, and participate in summer teams for those sports until school starts.

“We’ve talked about passing camps and stuff, but we just have so many kids strung out all over that it’s not feasible to do it,” Taylor said.