Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
Though the extreme summer heat of the week was not exactly conducive to outdoor sporting events, sometimes the show must go on and on the practice fields at Manchester High School the show did go on, as the Greyhound football program held five days of camp, 5-8 p.m. each night, for the seventh through 12th graders in their program.
Through a ton of sweat and devouring large quantities of water, the campers worked on simple fundamentals of the game, with the objective of getting in just a little more preparation for the upcoming 2017 season.
Manchester head coach Dustin Cook and his staff were in charge of the camp and led their campers through different stations, making sure that they took all the necessary precautions to battle the excessive heat.
“This camp was important for us to get as many as our players in the whole program together as we could,” said Cook. “It gives us a chance to introduce new things to the younger players and to reinforce those fundamentals with our varsity level kids. We don’t have full squads at either level here at any one time this week because of vacation and other commitments, but the kids who are here have been working hard despite the conditions.”
“This is a good chance for us to get in some work before our two-a-days start here in a couple of weeks and to use our 10 allotted days.”
Coach Cook and his staff are well aware of the dangers of the weather and along with trainer Robby Dryden are careful to make sure that all the athletes are well hydrated.
“We make sure to take numerous water breaks during the three-hour period,” said Cook during one break where his campers were devouring the water supply. “We are careful with the heat, but at the same time, realize that later in the summer, especially when we get into pads, they will have to deal with this same thing again, but in game situations.”
One of the Greyhounds’ seniors-to-be, Mason Bilyeu, was on hand at the camp, looking to come back in 2017 after missing the entire 2016 season with an ankle injury.
“We are obviously here just to try and make everybody better football players,” Bilyeu told The Defender on Tuesday night of the camp. “We are missing some guys but when we get everyone here we will be fine.”
“I’m ready to get those pads on one last time and I just want to see some wins this year. Since my freshman year, the most varsity wins we’ve had in a season are four, and I want to see more than that.”
The Hounds are coming off a very tough 2016 campaign where they finished 1-9 and face another tough schedule this fall, beginning in late August with a home date against the Fayetteville Rockets.