Cobequid hard at work preparing for upcoming season
Daniel Maddison, left, tries to fend off Cobequid Cougars teammate Ryan Strickland while offensive co-ordinator Brent MacPhee watches Wednesday during Cobequid Cougars football training camp at James Macpherson Stadium in Truro. The Cougars have been busy since Aug. 19 preparing for the upcoming high school season. CObquid opens the campaign at home on Sept. 15 against the Auburn Drive Eagles. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
TRURO – Forgive Andrew Murphy for wishing summer away.
The 17-year-old, entering his senior year of high school today, longs for the cooler days of fall, the changing of the leaves…football season.
Murphy is one of more than 50 players who have been honing his skills at Cobequid Cougars training camp for the past few weeks in preparation for the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Football League season. Cobequid opens the campaign at home on Sept. 15 against the Auburn Drive Eagles.
“It’s nice to be back out here,” Murphy said through his orange helmet Wednesday as he stood on the James Macpherson Stadium grass, the sun still packing enough power to make it feel like mid-summer. “It’s what you train for all summer in the gym so it’s nice to get out with the whole team as opposed to just a few guys.”
Camp kicked off Aug. 19 and head coach Scott Annand and his staff have been steadily working the players harder and getting deeper into the more skilled aspects of the gridiron game.
Annand said he’s happy with how things have gone thus far.
“I’m very pleased,” he said, taking a break from shouting encouragement and tips to his players as they worked in stations, each with a coach teaching separate skills. “The guys we were counting on are here and I really like the new bodies that have come out this year.”
With the start of school today, Annand said he expects even more players to come out and try making the team, which finished fifth last season with a 2-4 record, missing the Tier 1 playoffs.
But Annand said he feels the team will be much better this year for several reasons, including the benefit of having an extended camp. The league actually starts today but the Cougars don’t open their season until Week 2 due to getting their bye week right off the bat.
“I was kind of apprehensive about that at first,” Annand said. “But it’s really a benefit in a sense in that we don’t have to rush it, we can take our time and pay more attention to detail and really work on the individuals and their craft.”
The coach said there is still plenty of room for anyone who would like to come to practice, which continues all week from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m., adding he and his staff have not committed to any player at certain positions.
“We’ll make changes that we feel will best contribute to the program’s success this year and win some football games and bring back a provincial championship.”
Training camp is an integral part of that process. Players who are committed to making the team better and show up in shape are easily identified by the coaching staff. Training camp allows the staff to take stock of its talent and gives coaches time to bring other players up to speed.
“In that sense training camp is vital to us because it’s more football,” Annand said.
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