Football season kicks off at Dartmouth High’s first practices
Fifty kids ran drills on the field next to Dartmouth High on Friday morning — even though the start of school is still more than a week away.
Coaches were holding the first practice of the season for the school’s football team, and plenty of kids answered the call.
Teenagers were squatting, high-stepping, and leaping their way across the field — and sometimes even running backwards.
They were broken into smaller groups based on the positions they wanted to play, each group with its own coach drilling them for particular skills.
Wearing helmets, padding, and jerseys, the kids also took plenty of water breaks in the sunshine.
“When the ball drops, it’s New Year’s!” shouted one coach.
“No jogging! People jog in Buttonwood Park,” yelled another. “Football players run.”
“The first three days of practice are conditioning, with a little football thrown in,” explained head coach Rick White.
“We get kids who are top athletes, who have been practicing all summer, and kids who haven’t done anything all summer. So first we have to get everyone into football shape.”
White noted that the first day of practice isn’t really “tryouts,” because everybody makes the team.
“We don’t make cuts, because we want to be all inclusive,” said defensive line coach Mike Martin. “And everyone does have a role. But the other side of the coin is, we are a varsity program...and we owe it to ourselves and to our team to play the best eleven.”
Those who might not be ready for varsity ball can play on Dartmouth’s Junior Varsity team, said the coaches, and everybody can contribute in some way.
“Every team is unique,” said White. “We’re looking forward to building the team and building chemistry this season.”
White added that this year, he’s also looking forward to playing on Dartmouth’s new field at Memorial Stadium.
“The field’s great, we love the field,” he said. “And it’s a nice schedule. It’s a little more local, with a lot of local teams.”
Incoming senior Paul Lopes said that he was excited for the upcoming season.
He plays receiver, and said that the first day of practice was “going great.”
Sophomore Baron Dutra agreed, joking that he enjoyed “the excitement of hitting someone.”
Dutra said that he’s hoping to play linebacker and wide receiver on the varsity team this year.
But he added that he really likes Dartmouth High football.
“Getting a chance to play with this team, they’re like your brothers,” he said.