Fort Frye kicks off first day of football practice

BEVERLY – Fort Frye’s football team has worked hard all summer in preparation for the regular season, which begins Aug. 29 at Belpre.

That trend continued Friday as the Cadets held their first official team practice, a two-a-day session, which went from 2 to 4 in the afternoon and 5 to 7 in the evening. While the team won’t put pads on until next week, Fort Frye was able to run through some plays and work on some other stuff Friday to get the season off to a productive start.

“Kids are excited,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck. “You could tell they were excited today to come down and start. They’re counting down the days to get the shoulder pads on and actually get to start playing some real football.”

Huck said there were 41 players suited up for Friday’s practice, so numbers are looking solid.

“That’s the most I’ve seen, that I’ve had as a head coach here,” Huck said. “And numbers keep increasing.”

After wrapping up mini-camp recently, Huck said the players were already somewhat familiar with the playbook which made the transition into practicing much smoother.

“We just finished up camp so I feel like we’re a little bit ahead of the game as far as where we got to start (Friday),” Huck said. “We didn’t have to start from square one. We just picked up where we left off from camp.”

Friday was just a preview of what’s to come, though. The Cadets expect to begin full contact Thursday, when the intensity level will surely rise.

“We’re anxious to get the pads on and see who the players are,” Huck said.

“We’ve gotten pretty far with the Xs and Os. You like to try and get as much of that stuff in as possible before the pads go on, before you can really get into those things that really matter like blocking, tackling, then work on that stuff when the pads do go on.”

The Cadets will scrimmage the Morgan Raiders on Aug. 12 and Huck is hoping to see the team be able to execute the basic packages out of the playbook at that point, as well as analyze how players perform in certain roles.

“We’re just looking to be sound with those few plays that we’ll have in at that time,” Huck said. “We’re not gonna throw too much at them. The big thing is, I just want to start seeing who’s gonna fit where as far as our personnel. Get a lot different kids a look and just see where guys are gonna fit in. We have a lot of new faces this year and we have some spots to fill from last year.”

Fort Frye will be led a small senior class consisting of linemen Tyler Wittekind, Brandon Close and Levi Baker, running back/defensive end Luke Yates and quarterback/defensive back Terren Huck. All were key contributors on last year’s team which went 8-3 and qualified for the Division VI, Region 21 playoffs.

“I’m definitely looking at those guys to be the leaders and step up this year,” Huck said.

“I think they’re ready for it. They’re excited about it. It’s finally their senior year. They’ve been a part of those playoff teams the last two years. They’ve been there. They’re used to it. They know what to expect. I think they’ll step up big for us this year.”

Huck also expects junior Derek Layton to serve as a leader on the team. Layton has started at several different positions since his freshman season. There is also a crop of newcomers that Huck believes will come in and contribute.

Overall, it seems the Cadets will be a much different looking team this fall. However, they’re hoping for similar results.