The term “boys of summer” usually applies to baseball players, but for two weeks, it also applies to Arapahoe High School football players.
Since May 28, Warriors have been on the practice field. The first days, they just wore helmets and shorts, but starting the fourth day they put on full pads and hitting was allowed. For the sessions, Arapahoe's offense wore white jerseys while the defense wore black jerseys.
This was a time for coaches to work with players on techniques and plays. On June 3, for example, Warriors coach Mike Campbell was working with the athletes as the offense ran plays against a full defense. He called an inside run and, when it didn't go well, he had everyone move back to the line and pointed out to the offensive linemen what they did wrong and how they can make the play work next time.
Football players wearing full pads and hitting during school summer vacation wasn't allowed until about five years ago, when the Colorado High School Activities Association changed the rules to allow the voluntary two-week session that also permitted scrimmages.
The Warriors camp began May 29, when Campbell and his staff ran three-hour morning sessions. Plans are to conclude the camp with a three-day visit to the Colorado State University camp, where they will scrimmage Cherokee Trail, Grandview and Pomona.
“These are our sophomores, juniors and seniors,” Campbell said during the June 3 session. “We have about 82 players attending this camp. I like the fact we can hold these sessions. It gives us a chance to look at young players and see what they can do.”
The coach said he has quite a few returning lettermen, which will be a plus for the team.
“We have returning guys in the skill positions but we know we have to work create a good offensive line,” he said. “We had four starting offensive linemen graduate in June, so we are looking to find guys who will consistently step up and fill those positions.”
Campbell said the trip to the CSU camp is important to the team.
“Our guys are working against teammates here at the school so both sides know what is coming,” he said during the practice. “But, at CSU, we'll be seeing three other teams and going against them. That will help us find out now how our guys work against a good opposition. That will help us as we begin looking to the fall.”
The Warriors will also be competing in some 7-on-7 tournaments later this summer.
The 7-on-7 events are an all-passing, touch football tournament involving backs, receivers on offense as well as the linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties on defense. There are no rushing linemen, but a timer requires the quarterback get the pass off in five seconds or the play is considered a sack.
Arapahoe's football team will be at regular practice in late August as they prepare for the four non-league games and, as always, the coach said the competition in the Centennial League will be tough. Arapahoe opens the 2013 season at home Sept. 6 in a non-league game against Rangeview.