A small but determined group

  • Friday, July 18, 2014


The numbers may have not been huge for the first conditioning practice of the Andrews Recreation Department fall football league, but that did not affect the intensity of the workout on July 16.

“I like it, I like it, I like it,” Coach Hunter Cox told his players after a wind-sprint drill. Only three boys showed up for the first conditioning camp in Andrews, but those three got a workout they won’t soon forget.

“Let me get this straight. We run suicides and then run out for the ball?” player Gunner Gatlin inquired of the coach.

He wanted to make sure he had the pattern straight in his head before the coach sent him out to run it. Gunner had it correct, and the coach made sure he executed the drill until he was able to complete the pattern all the way through and catch the football at the end.

Seven-year-old Drew Merritt arrived at football practice on the heels of a baseball game.

“I’m tired already from baseball, but I’m ready to play some football now,” he said, sweating from head to toe. Drew was determined to be able to catch the football during the suicide drill. “Can I keep trying till I get it right?” With a double nod from both coaches, Drew was given as many opportunities as he needed to catch the pass.

The coaches hope more players with the heart of Drew, the youngest player at the conditioning session, show up before the fall season begins.

Watching 11-year-old Keshaun Williams put one hand to the ground while cocking his other arm on his hip, it was clear Keshaun knew exactly what a three-point stance was long before the coaches were finished instructing the boys on the position.

“Is it okay if I go ahead and get in my stance for this drill?” Keshaun asked. And with that, he got set, darted up, completed the wind sprints, and was waiting to receive the football from the coach.

Just when the exhausted players were about to catch their breath, the coaches called for them to hit the ground for leg lifts.

“Six inches, what’s that?” asked Drew.

“You may not know what it is now, but you will for sure know what it feels like tomorrow,” said Keshaun, a more seasoned player.

“My tummy is twitching,” Gunner said after a few seconds of the drill.

Coach Sidney Gray gave the small group a round of applause and encouraged them to bring some friends out to the next practice.

“You guys did a great job tonight, you all worked hard,” he said. “Make sure you bring some friends out with you next week.”

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