The Mexico high school football program has been trying to get a lot accomplished this offseason.
Not only has the coaching staff been trying to keep up with all the aspects of strength and conditioning, but it's also been fine-tuning the offensive and defensive playbooks while trying to coordinate and create a freshman football team and managing the personalities of three different levels of competition.
"On Thursday we're going to a scrimmage. Basically, this week is about getting ready for that," said head coach Steve Haag. "We keep installing offense and defense, but a lot of what we're going to do is about preparing for that trip to Quincy. We need to get the players in the right positions and get people where we need to be so we can see them perform. Hopefully we'll have a good scrimmage, finish July practices and get into August practices."
This event is for the Bulldogs varsity, JV and freshman gridiron squads and is taking place at the high school Mon-Wed. from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on the practice field. The seniors, juniors and sophomores also have weightlifting sessions on July 10, 12 and 13 at 6:15 a.m. followed by the freshmen at 7:30 a.m. This all leads into the Quincy Camp on Thursday at 4:00 p.m., which should give Haag and his staff a much better idea where the team is excelling and what it still needs to work on.
"I think we know who some of our starters might be. We've had some kids step up and we're hoping to have more do the same," Haag said. "We need to have more play. It's always a continual battle to find more people. Hopefully we'll find more people that can help us play. We need more than 11 to play a game of football, so we need some guys to step up this week, next week and at our camp in August."
This week the Mexico Middle School football program also has a camp scheduled for July 11-13. While that event was originally supposed to take place from 6:00-7:30 p.m., the times were moved to later in the evening because of the high humidity levels in the area currently.
"The freshmen practice with us during this camp. They're in red jerseys. You'll see them do their thing and they'll travel with the team to Quincy on Thursday," said Haag. "We hope to get a freshman scrimmage going while the varsity does theirs. It's tough. We had 22 kids at our first camp. At the other ones we had about 14 or 15. Hopefully we get the rest of those guys out their during the next few weeks. If they're out in August, we can have a freshman season and build that group."
Because the second high school athletic dead period lies just around the corner, this program will also hold skill clinics July 18-20. That same weightlifting schedule applies for July 17th, 19th and 20th, as well, and physicals are due that Thursday.
"When it comes to our plays, we'll make adjustments, but we'll be who we are," Haag said. "We're not that different than what we were that first year. We've thrown in some winkles, but everybody knows that we do what we do. We want to play physical football. If we have the athletes to do that I think we're going to compete on Friday nights whoever we play. That's our plan. We want to keep it simple so other teams have to prepare for us."
Once this squad comes back together on July 31, it has daily practices on the docket from 7:00-10:30 a.m. This will lead into a midnight scrimmage at home on Aug. 5 and a Mother's Clinic later that day at 10:00 a.m. The Bulldogs then have another week of practices from Aug. 7-11 at the same times followed by a jamboree on July 11 at 6:00 p.m.
"I think our offense stresses other teams out because we like to run the football. Defensively we give opponents many different looks out of a very simple scheme and our guys get after the ball," said Haag. "It's worked the last three years and we hope it works this year."