It sounds like a misnomer to say that a team has hardened itself to the point where it’s ready to wear pads, but that’s the case for this week’s Sand Devils football team.
It takes a certain level of training, preparation and endurance to arrive at that point.
Luckily for the Sand Devils football team the majority of that preparation was reached last year while they were forging their way to a 3A North Regional championship, and with a majority of last year’s star players returning this year the Sand Devils are ready to forge even further this year.
And so far, so good, said Sand Devils football head coach Mitchell Stephens.
“I feel like we’re in a pretty good position right now” said coach Stephens. “I feel like all 22 starters are out. We’re starting to gel.”
Official practice began last Monday, July 30, but the truly dedicated Sand Devils attended summer football camp and weight training since early June.
And from that moment on, like a running back finding a seam in the defense, the Sand Devils have only been looking forward.
The football team began practice wearing just helmets and by the end of the week were also wearing shoulder pads to get used to wearing them in the heat. Those players who haven’t missed any practices started wearing full pads yesterday, which will bring full contact practices later this week.
The Sand Devils play a scrimmage game on Aug. 8. They play both Bradshaw Mountain and Combs High Schools. During the scrimmage each team is allowed 60 offensive plays and 60 defensive plays and the coaches are allowed to be on the field with the players, if they choose.
“This allows the coaches to be more involved,” said coach Stephens. “We usually stand behind the players. This allows us to correct one of our players if he’s lined up wrong, and give them other directions, such as informing them to be keying on a certain player or be on the right or the left.
Coach Stephens says it’s a great opportunity to fix mistakes before the real season begins. He’s looking forward to the first game and seeing his team in action.
“Right now all the coaches are very pleased with what we’re seeing from our team,” said coach Stephens. “Our quarterbacks are coming along and we have players starting to fill the leadership roles.”
The Sand Devils have also bolstered their roster with some students who have moved to Page during the summer.
“We got a couple move-ins who could definitely help us and that’s always a nice surprise,” said coach Stephens. “We still plan to play on November 23 in the state championship game.”
The Sand Devils first game is Friday, Aug. 17 against the Payson Longhorns. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The other Sand Devils sports teams will begin practice this Monday.