Most students are enjoying their summer break sleeping late, relaxing by the pool and trying their best to avoid all types of physical exertion. However, for a dedicated and driven group of young men in our town, summer break offers a totally different type of schedule. This small army of teens rises early and heads to the school in the wee hours of the morning for an intensive 2 hour off-season workout that is designed to lead them toward football success in the fall. Yes, even though the lights of Ki-Ro Gambrell field remain off, and the grass between the field goal posts is lush and unmarked, football is in full swing at Walker High as the team uses the off-season to prepare for their rigorous 10 game schedule in the fall.
Head Coach John Holladay and his coaching staff give the team a varied workout each day combining weights, agility, and conditioning. “The team has shown up each morning with an impressive work ethic and a strong desire to improve. Even in the early hours of the morning, the team has a high energy level. I have been very impressed with the leadership of our senior players. The older guys have raised the bar for the younger ones by setting a good example with their promptness to workouts, a strong work ethic and a good dose of encouragement for the underclassmen,” says Coach Holladay. He adds, “This past week, we have been really impressed with the efforts of our linebackers, specifically seniors Todd Homan and Blake Moore. These guys have been true leaders in our workout sessions giving 100% and pressing the others to give their all as well. When the players step it up in a workout and assume the role of leaders, it is more powerful than any words a coach could say in motivating the others to give their all – all the time.”
The summer session hasn’t been all work for this senior class. They started summer break with an adventure filled trip to the Ocoee River in Tennessee for white water rafting, ropes course and paintball wars pitting the senior players against the coaching staff for a fun weekend that really bonded the group together. The camping session also included an intensive beach volleyball competition which really showed the athleticism of this group of players.
The team has also had a number of players attending camps across the Southeast. Participating in individual football camps give players individualized football instruction as well as exposure to college coaches which is important during the recruitment period. These camps are paid for by the player and show a special dedication to being the best they can be.
The team will host a 7-on-7 competition this Wednesday at Walker featuring play among the Walker Varsity, Walker’s JV, Minor, Gordo and Tuscaloosa County. A schedule for the day will be posted here on Tuesday afternoon.