WENATCHEE — One team, one mission, one goal.
That’s the foundation upon which the 2011 Wenatchee football team, which began its season in earnest Wednesday with its first day of double practice sessions, will hope to build a successful campaign.
Wednesday was the first of 14 consecutive days of practice — excluding Sundays — for the Panthers before they open the 2011 season on Friday, Sept. 2 against Southridge in the Apple Bowl.
“We have our team camp and our spring ball and other things, but this is the first day,” said Mitch Marboe, one of the team’s senior leaders. “This is the first day we are all really together and pushing each other.”
Marboe said the team’s covenant of “one team, one mission, one goal” was developed around the need to bring the dozen or so sophomores-to-be that will be playing major roles this season into the fold.
“There’s a lot of hype around some of these rising sophomores, but it takes the whole team to win football games,” Marboe said. “The athletic ability is there for those guys, but it’s the experience that we lack. We don’t want those younger guys to feel like they’re adrift hotshots. We want them to know that their teammates have their back.”
One of those rising sophomores fighting for a starting spot is quarterback Dillon Sugg, who has continued to show improvement throughout the offseason.
He and rising senior Chris Woodard are in competition to be the No. 1 signal-caller on opening night, and Wenatchee coach Scott Devereaux said that whichever of the quarterbacks is playing better at the end of two-a-days (Aug. 26), will begin to take more of the reps with the starting offense.
“We haven’t ruled out using them both, but we’d have to decide when and in which situations,” Devereaux said.
The Panthers didn’t dive much into Xs and Os during its first official day of practice.
Instead, the team took the morning to take care of filling out paperwork, and athletic director B.J. Kuntz and athletic trainer Dale Blair addressed the team.
Later, the Panthers were put through a battery of physical fitness tests to determine their readiness to begin the season.
Among the most grueling of those tests was a 500-yard shuttle run that players had to complete in assigned times according to positions, ie: required times are lower for a defensive back than for an offensive linemen.
Though some players were exempt from the run after participating in a speed camp last week, most took part.
“I think we had four guys pass today,” Devereaux said.
The rest must take the test again each day until the end of two-a-days.
Notes: The Panthers have an assistant coach dedicated to tutoring its tight ends for the first time in Devereaux’s eight-year tenure. Jeff Christoferson came to the Panthers after coaching at Class 2A powerhouse Prosser…After the graduation of standout kicker Angel Guerra and his backup, Gilberto Covarrubias, the Panthers are searching for someone to take over those duties this season. Devereaux said that Woodard, Carson Grater and Brock Fuller are all in competition for that role.
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