Coming off a middle school football District champion sweep, El Campo’s seventh and eighth grade students hit the field for the first time Monday morning.
Thanks to changes to the UIL’s rules, middle schoolers can go through the same type of workouts that the high school atheltes can, on a smaller scale. For six sessions this year, incoming seventh-graders and incoming eighth-graders are getting sport-specific instruction.
Sixty to seventy El Campo Middle School-aged atheltes descended onto Ricebird Stadium Monday morning to start the offseason workouts. While high school athletes have been at it for over a month, the young birds were able to get their first taste.
Under the hot sun, the middle schoolers received instruction from Coaches Matthew Schoener, Jesse Galvan and James Harp, who was a co-offensive coordinator last year, but is moving down to middle school this upcoming season.
“It went real good. A lot of these kids have played a little pee-wee football,” Schoener said. “They have an idea, but they don’t have the same concept that we (have).”
The workouts were broken into two parts, first sports specific skill instruction. The second was strength training and conditioning.
Each coach spent time going over the basics and how to do things the Ricebird way.
“It’s going to be lots of learning,” Schoener said. “Some of these things, hopefully, we won’t have to teach when we first start school. We’ll be a little ahead of everybody.”
Harp worked with receivers and spent time teaching each position and where they need to line up at the line of scrimmage. Schoener worked with the backs and went over how to receive the football on handoffs and where to lineup. Galvan worked with all the linemen and spent time going over positional responsibilities.
After the football drills, in the weight room, Galvan worked with the kids and taught them the proper way to lift weights. For many of the atheltes, all incoming seventh graders, this was their first time lifting in an official capacity at the school. On the field, Schoener and Harp took them kids through conditioning drills teaching them the correct way that they are done on the high school level.
After a two-day break, the kids will be back on the field tomorrow for another session for the last time this week. The final four sessions will be July 16, 18, 20 and Aug 1.
“(I’d like to see) more kids,” Schoener said. “We had about 70 today, we should have about 150 kids out here if you count all the kids that signed up for football.”