Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SPORTS >> Youth out en masse for Falcons spring drills

Leader sports writer

Monday afternoon was the first day of pads for the 2006 North Pulaski Falcons. Forty of the estimated 55 players for this coming season’s team participated in drills in preparation for the coming week of playing in pads.

A number of freshmen were not at the early practice, but the rest of the current underclassmen went through a series of scrimmage drills. The offensive set used most during the play drills was the traditional three-man back formation, a game plan coach Tony Bohannon says the team will return to for a large portion of its yardage in the fall.

“I’m very pleased with how things went,” Bohannon said. “We’re missing a few of the sophomores, but we’re excited to get some of these younger guys out here.” Bohannon says the athletic program is taking a different approach this year. In the weeks leading up to spring practice, players from all sports lifted weights and trained together, with an emphasis on students participating in more than just one sport.

“We’re trying to build North Pulaski athletics,” Bohannon said. “Not just one sport or the other, but to get some of the more skilled athletes interested in all sports. It’s gone really well; it’s the first time some of these freshmen and sophomores have had to work with the older guys.”

The working of the junior varsity schedule will also have a different approach for this year. All JV games will coincide the same week with the freshmen games, meaning a Monday JV game against Mills would be followed by eighth and ninth-grade games on Thursday against the Comets, giving the younger players a chance to get more experience in game conditions against common opponents.

“This will do three things for us,” Bohannon said. “It will give them some more field time, and it will give them a chance to play in a game setting a little more. Another thing we’re trying to do is pull more parents out to watch JV ball. We want to build up the whole program.”

Monday’s practice seemed to go very smoothly. After an extensive warm up, the offense scrimmaged several different types of running plays. Charles Baker looked stoutest among the running backs. Next fall’s senior fullback found openings on more than one occasion, cutting back across the field and turning a loss into a breakaway on another play.

Baker has college interest from Tulsa, UAPB and others, and will undoubtedly be a key part of the Falcons offense in the ’06 season.

Jason Regnas took most of the snaps at quarterback. Regnas also got a chance to face the scrimmage defense with a number of quarterback draw plays, breaking through on the final play of practice.

“Jason had a real good practice,” Bohannon said. “It’s basically him and three sophomores we have for quarterback. We’re going to have Michael Fleishman ready as a running back and a backup quarterback.”

The Falcons will also practice today before taking the rest of the week off. They will pick back up next week, practicing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.