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Pioneers end spring practice
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Yesterday’s three-hour practice session on the Warren County High School practice football field was the last workout in May for the boys of fall.
The Warren County High School football team completed its 10th workout, which bring spring practice to a close after three weeks of intense practice.
Coach Tommy Johnson was excited coming into spring practice about the potential of his team. After nine workouts and one scrimmage, the optimism has only grown for the third-year head coach.
“I thought we did some really good things over spring practice,” said Johnson. “We have some guys playing really well and we just look stronger and faster.”
Coach Johnson stressed the importance of getting into the weight room during the offseason and the message seemed to hit home with his team.
Several players have been setting personal bests in the weight room and the strength added off the field has translated onto the field.
Strength, especially among the team’s offensive and defensive linemen, could key a big turnaround as the Pioneers are looking to win some games a year after finishing the 2011 season 0-10.
Though coach Johnson thinks many of the players in the trenches have improved, some positions still need to be solidified and depth needs to be built.
“We got some spots on the line where we’re still looking for some guys,” said Johnson. “We need to continue to develop the guys and get more bodies.”
The skill-position players stood out in the spring on both sides of the ball. Coach Johnson praised his team’s wide receivers and defensive backs for stellar play throughout spring practice.
With the team changing offenses under new offensive coordinator Pedro Holiday to take advantage of a talented backfield, the down-field blocking by wide receivers has stood out to coach Johnson.
“Our wide receivers have had a good spring,” said Johnson. “Those guys are being physical, getting down field and making good blocks. They’re also catching the ball well and running good routes.”
During the final week of practice, the Pioneer wide receivers had a new quarterback delivering the ball.
Hunter Mullican, who started nine games last season and set several single-season records, sat out while dealing with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.
Soon-to-be sophomore Malik Ladet took snaps at quarterback and could provide solid depth next season at the quarterback spot.
Mullican and Ladet have spent the spring trying to master Holiday’s offense, which focuses more on ball control and the ability to get playmakers in the right spots.
With the added focus on the ground game, coach Johnson believes the offense has the ability to pay dividends on the scoreboard and for his defense.
“I really like how our offense is looking,” said Johnson. “It’s going to be a little bit more grinding it out, but we also have the ability to make things happen down field. Plus, when we control the clock, our defense has time to rest.
“Going back and looking at last year’s team, our defense wasn’t bad when we had breaks. But when we were getting three-play breaks, fatigue would set in.”
With spring practice over, the Pioneers will return to offseason conditioning until the start of fall practice in late July.
Warren County will begin the season Friday, August 17 with a road game against DeKalb County.