Repetitions important for Rifle Bears this summer
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
There’s no way Damon Wells could point to just one person who has been excelling this summer for the Rifle High School football team.
“I couldn’t just single anyone out,” the Bears head football coach said during the 7-on-7 summer football drills the team is running. “Everybody is here competing and getting better, and there isn’t just one guy here who is doing more than anyone.”
Getting some extra repetitions in is what the 7-on-7 drills are for, and it’s of great benefit to the Bears. Of course, it’s also of great benefit to Glenwood Springs, Coal Ridge and Basalt, who play 7-on-7 football with Rifle over the course of the summer.
The term “7-on-7, ” however, is a bit of a misnomer. When teams play each other, they’re allowed to use a quarterback and five wide receivers — for six players — while the defense implements seven players, mainly safeties and cornerbacks. The Colorado High School Activities Association began allowing players to wear helmets at 7-on-7 camps and workouts in 2010. There is no tackling, as players are ruled down by touch.
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The four schools are in their third summer of working together to put on the drills. Passing is the primary emphasis for the offensive teams, but it also gives coaches a chance to give more one-on-one coaching to players in the defensive secondary.
Rifle’s situation is no different than the teams they’ve been working with over the course of the summer. The drills give Rifle’s coaching staff a chance to work with players more closely, helping them fine tune some things prior to the first official day of practice on Aug. 12. The Bears have had a good turnout of young players, each of them more than eager to demonstrate their abilities and impress coaches.
What’s different, however, is who some of those players will replace. Rifle had a more-than-stellar graduating class last season — a season which saw the Bears finish the season 13-1 overall, win its second consecutive Class 3A Western Slope League championship and reach the state title game before losing to upstart Silver Creek.
All of that success, however, definitely hasn’t dampened the Bears’ enthusiasm.
“What’s really fun to see,” Rifle assistant coach John Scraebeck said, “is just how eager the young guys are to step up and do something.”
The four teams play each other in a round-robin format, with workouts going no more than two hours. Last week, the teams played at Bears Stadium. Next week, each of the four teams will meet in Basalt.
There will obviously be other camps that Rifle will attend to focus on linemen, not just skill players. In the meantime, however, Wells likes what he sees from the guys who have made it out each week during the summer.
“The kids definitely want to come out and compete and improve,” Wells said. “We can’t ask for anything more than that.”
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