Looking out across the lush green grass of Northview High School's football field on a spring afternoon you would never know that football has been in season for months already.
While the only action on the field these days is the occasional flying discus during a track meet, the Knights began preparing months ago for what could be a banner season for Northview's football program.
Less than seven months ago the Knights, under new head coach George Gettle, completed a season in which they raised more than a few eyebrows by winning four games and narrowly missing a couple more "W's." But rather than resting on their laurels and enjoying their best season in quite some time, Gettle and the players went right back to work, continuing to build on the foundation they laid last season.
Since January, more than 70 players ranging from North Clay students to high school seniors-to-be have dedicated themselves to improving in the one aspect that was seemingly deficient in the Knight's squad. Team strength.
In his first season at the helm for the Knights, Gettle's squad, at times, had trouble matching up with other teams in the strength category, a facet Gettle and the players have concentrated on this winter.
"We've really concentrated on our physical development," commented Gettle in an interview last week. "What it really boils down to is how you develop players in the weight room. And we've really had great commitment this year."
According to Gettle, when players were originally tested last August before the season began, just one player could benchpress 250 pounds and just a couple could squat over 400 pounds. Through the players' offseason dedication to the weightroom those numbers have jumped to 14 pressing 250+ pounds and 10 who can now squad more than 400 pounds.
The results, according to junior running back and linebacker Jordan Garrison, have been impressive across the board. "The players have realized that (dedication in the weight room) is more important (under Coach Gettle). Kids have been showing up a lot more and getting a lot stronger. (Coach Gettle) has really kept us motivated."
With the team's burgeoning success last year has come notice from not only high school coaches' across the state, but college coaches in the area as well.
Quarterback Logan Whitman was nominated by area coaches as one of the best 26 players in the state this season. The opinion was evidently shared by many in the rest of the state because Whitman was not only named to the Indiana Football Guide's "Tremendous 26" but was also selected to be on the cover of the magazine.
With the notice has also come interest from college coaches from all levels. Senior Amos Wegner will be attending Grand Rapids Community College to continue his football career and several other Northview players have received interest from coaches at the next level.
While the official first regular season game doesn't take place until August 26, the Knight's will have a full summer slate beginning with a team meeting on May 22 and preseason workouts resuming on June 9.
According to Gettle, a group of 20 players will be attending the Indiana University Team Camp in Bloomington from June 15-18. A very important Northview Team Camp takes place from June 24-27 and the first Clay County Youth Football Camp run by Gettle and his staff along with current Northview players and guest high school and college coaches.
The 2003 campaign will reach full stride on August 4 when Lunch Camp begins with two-a-day practices. The team will have their Intersquad Scrimmage on August 9 with a scrimmage slated at Northview High School versus Indianapolis Manual on August 15.
At the end of August the Knights who step on the field versus the Panthers will have long, realized the results of their sweat and dedication in the offseason. According to Garrison the work has all been worth it. "We don't mind working out," noted Garrison. "Everyone takes it seriously here. I know that since I'm a senior I don't get a chance to come back so I'm giving it everything."
And by the looks of the weightroom on any given day, so is the rest of the program.