Youth aged from elementary school through middle school participated in drills, philosophy and concepts of Star Valley football this week on the beautiful turf at Braves Field. There were 75 youth, roughly twice the number from last year’s camp despite temperatures below 45 degrees and wet rainy conditions. It is an enthusiastic group that the coaching staff is glad to have. “The biggest thing is that we are trying to teach some basic skills like blocking, tackling, route running; some of those fundamental things,” said fourth year SVHS head coach Chris Howell. “What we’ve done is separate the elementary students from the middle school students. The seventh and eighth graders come in separately and we are running more of a practice for those guys who have a little more experience. We are trying to create a competitive environment and tech them to be passionate about the game and they will hopefully bring that into our program in a couple of years.”
• Coaching Shuffle
The coaching staff at the high school was shuffled over the past several weeks and now has a bit of a different look with the summer months now looming.
The head freshman coach will be Jeremy Qualls, who will also be in charge of calling the defensive plays. Joe Hale will coach both the offense and defensive lines and handle the offense.
“Joe is so familiar with our system and [we believe] working at the middle school will help transition kids from the middle to the high school,” added Howell.
Former conference player of the year and Black Hills State fullback Clint Nicholes, will fill out the freshman staff. “I think its good to have a hometown hero,” continued Howell. “Clint played some college ball and knows what it takes to be successful in the weight room and he is already helping us out in that area.”
On the varsity and junior varsity level, nothing will change on the defensive side of the ball. Kelly Merritt, Casey Parry and coach Howell will continue in their capacity there.
Winston Patterson will serve as the running backs coach and call the JV offense. Chris Abrams is coaching the offensive line, a shift from his position as the receivers coach.
The major addition to the offense will be McKay Young, who has been the head coach at Malad High School for the past four seasons. Young will be taking over as the receivers coach and also handling special teams. He is also expected to work with offensive coordinator, Nicc Crosby.
• Ute Shoot
Star Valley sent its largest contingent yet to the annual “Ute Shoot”, the seven-on-seven camp held on the campus of the University of Utah.
There were 34 participants, far and away the most since Howell took over the program in 2008. He attributes the excitement to a growing enthusiasm in the weight room.
“We started a zero hour weight-lifting class at the semester break this last year,” he said. “There are about 25-35 kids in the class before school starts. Coach [Eddie] Clark and I felt that with the [current] schedule that our kids weren’t getting enough time in the weight room. Our kids got some significant strength gains. They are excited about the success we’re having there and that is spilling over into this camp. We are getting over 40 kids a night in the weight room and last Tuesday we had over 50.”
The Star Valley squads improved on their previous results in Salt Lake City. The junior varsity went (5-2) overall, losing in the semi-finals to perennial Utah powerhouse Skyline by just seven point.
The varsity went (3-3), also falling in the semi-finals. Given that the teams had not been able to win a game in three previous attempts, the staff is encouraged by the result.
The portion of the camp that deals with the linemen had 55 squads, with the Star Valley program finishing in slot number 18. Many of the same players will be going to Provo next weekend to participate in the BYU camp.
The Braves open up the 2011 football season in just 84 days on the road in Blackfoot against the Snake River Panthers.