CLEVELAND — The summer breaks down into two seasons at White County and that methodology has coach Gregg Segraves believing that his team is more than ready for the 2009 season.
It all starts in May, when the team focuses on conditioning and weight lifting and concludes in July, after the players have attempted to perfect the X’s and O’s.
“At first it is all about getting stronger,” Segraves said. “When we get to July we change gears and work a lot on the passing game and passing defense. That’s when we start getting into more strategy.”
The Warriors were busy this past July, attending four passing tournaments and sending the lineman to a camp to work on technique, all of which left Segraves satisfied with the summer workouts.
“We had an excellent summer, participation was really good,” said Segraves, who had 64 players accomplish the required number of workouts.
That level of participation was key for White County, which lost starting quarterback Chantz Segraves and several key defensive lineman, including Tasi Suaava to graduation. While the loss of those starters will require new players to fill those roles, one player returning to White County stepped up his game in the offseason, and it is all because of a trip to Athens.
“Ashely Lowery got invited to Georgia’s Dog Night and went up there under the lights and I think the lights for him turned on after that experience,” Segraves said of the Warriors’ starting tailback. “He’s come back as good as ever and has been an outstanding leader for us. He’s really turned his motor up a bit.”
Lowery’s rushing ability provides White County with a solid option on offense and he’ll have to increase his workload this season with the graduation of Blake Limbaugh. His improvement is a definite positive coming out of summer, but according to Segraves, the summer is not so much about improvement as it is the health and well-being of his players.
“It’s almost a must, not only to be successful as a team, but more importantly for the safety of the kids,” he said of summer workouts. “If we don’t have these kids out here working in the summer, getting in shape, running, getting used to the heat, then bad things happen.
“I’ve got kids of my own on the team,” he added. “I know that if I let them, they’d be inside playing video games 24 hours a day. The summer workouts are so important to their health in August.”
Now that August has arrived and the season ready to begin in less than a month, Segraves is hoping that all that hard work over the summer will improve his team’s 6-4 record last year and vault them into the playoffs.
“We feel like we belong, and we feel like we can compete,” he said.
White County opens the 2009 season with a trip to Carnesville to take on Franklin County, a team that won the 2008 meeting by a score of 13-3.