Notes From Football Camp
by William Woody
Aug 13, 2012 | 1292 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SCRIMMAGE - Members of the Montrose High School football team began their 2012 season Monday afternoon during the first day of training camp. (Photo by William Woody)
SCRIMMAGE - Members of the Montrose High School football team began their 2012 season Monday afternoon during the first day of training camp. (Photo by William Woody)

MONTROSE – As the Montrose High School football team entered its first week of the 2012 season Monday, head coach Todd Casebier had a message for his veteran players: "Don't kill the freshmen."

The Indians are in training camp for the next two weeks, a grueling time for players to condition their minds and bodies to the task before them – making the state 4A playoffs.

During this stage, Casebier and his assistant coaches will continuously look for areas of improvement before the team opens its season at Vista Ridge High School near Colorado Springs Aug. 25.

"It's high school football, it's all about technique," the coach said.

On the field, Casebier's mind is a controlled stew of football knowledge as he aimlessly walks around barking out plays, blocking assignments, correcting errors and answering questions in anticipation his players can grow and retain the knowledge. The seasoning in the stew comes from 14 years as a head coach, including one state championship title at Palisade High School before coming south to turn around Montrose's football program in 2005.

"Every kid needs to be 20 percent better than the year before. And if we do that were going to be pretty good," Casebier said.

The Indians were 9-1 in the regular season last year before losing in the first round of the state playoffs. That one regular-season loss cost the Indians the Southwest League title they had held the previous four seasons. They were dethroned by rival 5A powerhouse Grand Junction High School.

Last year, due to injuries to upperclassmen, the team had to rely on underclassmen to fill key positions. Now those underclassmen are taking leadership roles and inspiring those below them to rise to the new challenges of the coming season.

"Last year we were in a situation where we needed some sophomores to step up and we had the right guys in the program to do that. We never have started four sophomores, much less both ways, and its an absolute credit to those guys for handling it physically and mentally," Casebier said.

Before the Indians can dream of post-season glory, they have to focus on Vista Ridge, a top contender in 3A last season before making the jump to 4A this year.

"They're fast as hell," team defensive coordinator Eric Handke said jokingly. For Handke, Vista Ridge and its trio of track stars will be a true test of the readiness of the Indians defense.

"They are the fastest kids in Colorado," Casebier told his team, with Handke echoing his respect for the VR talent. "You just want to corral their speed and not give up big plays," Handke said.

The smiles and laughter heard on the field this week could likely change next Monday as the team begins exhausting "three-a-day," workouts.

"One of the old coaching things that has been around a heck of a lot longer than me is, you throw everything at them in your preseason camps and your mini camps," Casebier said. "Right now, you want to give them the big picture and then come back, in terms of plays, then start fine tuning your game plan.

A surprise return to the Indians' 2012 schedule is its game against Delta High School on Sept. 7. The annual Montrose/Delta game was the longest-running rivalry in Colorado before Delta athletic officials terminated it in 2007. Montrose and Delta have met 121 times. The last was a 29-13 Indians victory on Aug. 31, 2007. Montrose leads that series 61-56-4.

MHS Schule

Aug. 25, @ Vista Ridge High School, 7 p.m.

Aug.31, home vs Palmer Ridge, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7, @ Delta High School, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Homecoming vs Pueble West, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21, @ Hinkley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28, home vs Monarch, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5, BYE

Oct. 12, @ Fruita High School, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19, home vs GRand Junction, 7 p.m.

Oct. 26, @ Durango, 7 p.m.

Nov. 2, home vs Grand Junction Central, 7 p.m.

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