Medford football starts season preparations at team camp
Medford -- After a tough season-ending loss to Kenyon-Wanamingo in the opening round of the Section 2AA playoffs last season, the Medford High School football team took to the school’s stadium Monday night for a four-day team camp to officially start preparations for the upcoming season.
“Knowing that as good as Kenyon was and being able to hang with them the way we did, it certainly gives us motivation to work a little bit harder,” commented head coach Jerome Johannes.
After a brief period of stretching, Johannes rallied his team together to kick-off a night of practice that where fundamentals and technique were the focal points.
During the postion drills, senior quarterback Javis VonRuden proved that despite not clutching a football for nearly a year, he still has the touch; hitting receivers in stride on a consistent basis.
After throwing for nearly 1,600 yards and recording 16 passing touchdowns last season, VonRuden will be asked to shoulder the bulk of the offensive production after the Tigers lost 1,000-yard rusher Marcus DeLeon to graduation.
It also appeared that the senior signal caller found a new favorite target after 2016 leading receiver Tye DeVoe was also lost to graduation.
That target was none other than his brother, Willie.
“It’s going to be nice,” added VonRuden about the thought of having his brother as a target. “He’s speedy with good hands.”
While the primary emphasis was on technique, there was still time for the team to compete, coming together to walk-through offensive and defensive plays against air. Despite having a few limitations in the trenches due to not wearing pads, Johannes was still able to plug away on some fundamentals to the offensive line that will need to be refined prior to the season.
For the defensive drills, the unit split into their respective position group. The Tigers head coach spent much of his time with the linebackers teaching them new techniques that he picked up at a coaching conference during the summer. Johannes noted that his expectations for the four-day camp are simple.
“We just want them to get in as much offense and defense as possible,” he said. “That way, they are ready come August when we start our regular two-a-day camp.”
Toward the tail end of camp, players came together for the true competition; 11-on-11 drills. VonRuden managed to record a few completions despite tight coverage from the Tigers’ secondary. Heading into his senior season, the signal caller stated that he wants his team to play with an attitude.
“I want us to be competitive with every team this year,” he said. “I don’t want us to be an easy win for teams like Medford has been known for the last couple years.”
Medford has one more team camp slated prior to officially kicking off the 2017 season. Johannes noted that they will head to Southwest Minnesota State Univeristy in Marshall for a three-day team camp.
Even though the season is nearly a month away, the anxiety for the season to officially arrive is mounting.
“We’re really excited for the season to start,” Johannes added. “And hopefully, things start to fall into place.”
The Tigers will report to SWMSU July 26.