Times Sports Editor
The mercury in the thermometers is still climbing, but for Northview football players, their minds are set in the fall.
The summer is where teams and players make their most significant progress and many of the Knights have been working diligently to make this season another one to remember for Northview fans.
During the off-season, members of the team have attended several camps and have putting in heavy hours in the weight room. According to both coach George Gettle and Dan Mikesell, the benefits of attending different camps are many.
"We had 18 kids attend the Bishop Dullaghan passing camp along with two of our assistant coaches," Mikesell commented. "The kids had a great week and really showed some improvement. Defensively our younger kids really got exposed to all of our coverages and several drills to improve basic skills.
"Coach Dullaghan has been running these camps for many years and we knew it would be a great opportunity to expose our kids to some excellent football," he continued. "For the kids who went on offense it was just as good an opportunity to improve on route running and other fundamental skills to give us a jump start once team camp starts."
Easing that potential learning curve and enabling younger players to gain familiarity with the new systems before high school practice begins is also a bonus for attending these offseason camps. While the so-called 'skill' positions are the focus of many camps, the Knights also sent the guys in the trenches to different camps.
"We had lineman attend the Down and Dirty lineman camp as well as the Metropolitan Indy lineman camp," Mikesell said. "It was a great chance for them to learn some technique and reinforce what we teach."
Not to be overlooked is that these camps also give Northview a chance to compete against lineman from schools that they don't typically see. Matching up against 5A and larger 4A schools gives our players the opportunity to bang heads with some of the state's top talent according to Mikesell.
"Our kids all held their own and it should be a real confidence booster heading into the season," Mikesell pointed out.
"We pick the camps that really reinforce our principles and basic schemes," Gettle mentioned. "It is nice for our kids to get some teaching from a fresh face. Camps are also a great way to develop team chemistry. Hopefully both of those goals were accomplished this summer."
Gettle also discussed the importance of the work done during the off-season and the strides he's already seen amongst some of the players.
"The off-season is critical to the development of players for fundamentals and conditioning," the Knights head coach said. "Once the season gets here the more conditioned and fundamental we are the more we can focus on scouting reports and implementing specific game plans. Winning conference and sectional titles don't happen if you wait to August to get started. We have a decent group of core players that have been really dedicated to getting bigger faster and stronger."
The Knights themselves will be holding their annual camp beginning next week at the high school for youth players and Gettle spoke about how the team has reaped the benefits of athletes attending the camp.
"We are seeing many of the kids who started out with us at our first youth camps now playing at the varsity level," Gettle said. "It is really nice to see how they have developed and grown up through the program. Our youth camp is a vital part of the program."
"The camp is important to us as coaches to start to learn who the kids are out in the community who are serious about football and contributing to the program," said Gettle. "It is also important for the kids to start learning to develop into a quality varsity football player."
Though the youth camp certainly has a focus on teaching the game to Clay County youth, Gettle quickly pointed out that there is plenty of fun to be had as well as learning and becoming familiar with the coaching staff.
"Obviously they are going to be getting coaching from our varsity staff so they are going to be learning how we do things at Northview," Gettle commented. "It is also important to be exposed to us so that we can begin to learn names and faces of the kids who are going to be the future of the program.
"It is a little more relaxed than a typical practice with the high school aged kids and we do focus on letting the little kids have some fun, but there is a lot of teaching going on and some friendly competition with an obstacle course and touch football games for the younger aged group," Gettle continued. "Fun and Fundamantals is our motto for the camp."
Northview players will also be working with the coaching staff and campers, which according to Mikesell, is part of developing team chemistry and developing leadership on the varsity.
The Clay County Youth Football Camp begins on Tuesday, July 22 and runs through Friday with a morning session for athletes in grades two through six from 8-9:30 a.m. and an afternoon session for grades seven through nine from 10-11:30 a.m. Pre-registration is $45 with forms available at The Brazil Times office. Day of registration will be $55.
"Overall there are several kids who have stepped into a leadership roles for this upcoming season. I think sending 30 plus kids to football camps across the Midwest was the beginning of the process," Mikesell said. "Junior RB/LB Drake Stevenson, senior OL/DL Tony Fabbri, sophomore QB Trent Lancaster and sophomore WR/DB Zac Niehaus are just a few names of players that have taken on a leadership role this off-season. What is nice is that these are names and faces of kids we have developed relationships with over the years through their attendance at your youth camp."