Holly — Anyone who watched some of the Holly Football Camp hosted at Holly High School last week may have not realized it was a football camp.
Certainly the players, the coaching staff, the helmets and the footballs were on the practice field, but some of the drills didn’t look like football at all.
One day the players did humorous skits together. On Wednesday, the team did an egg toss relay drill. They also did a few that at least involved football items. One was the lineman reception relay. Another involved passing the tackle dummies over their heads as one player from the back would run to the front to help move the tackle dummy forward.
These relays looked more like modified versions of team elimination challenges you’d expect to see on Survivor than at a football camp at times, but the events served their purpose.
“This is something we believe in,” first-year varsity football coach Dallas Lesperance said. “We have to get the team in more of a team atmosphere, so I’m always thinking of creative ways to implement conditioning with a little bit of fun, team building and communication.
“They help us with conditioning,” Holly senior Dylan Hignite said. “The conditioning helps, but it really isn’t like conditioning to us. It’s fun and different. Yes, the practicing stuff — you want to go through the routines, plays, pass routes and all the basics, but when it comes to the other stuff you can do things that are more creative. With our conditioning exercises, we are creating fun while getting conditioned.”
“We’ve been doing fun stuff all week,” senior Lucas Riepe said. “We had skits on Monday. We just tried to make friendly jokes and get people to laugh. We are trying to get everyone working on the team together as a team.”
Replacing last full-time head coach Ryan Culloty, it’s obvious that life is going to change with any new coach, and this was one of the first obvious changes at the camp by Lesperance. The players like their new head coach.
Hignite didn’t play football last year and returned to the team when Lesperance encouraged him to try out.
“He’s really fun, energetic and a great person,” Hignite said. “He loves the sport, and even more than the sport, he loves the players playing it. He cares about each and everyone out there. He makes the energy great and makes the program great. He’s a great person to be around.”
“He’s a good guy,” Riepe said. “He seems to care about what he’s doing. He seems to have a good plan for what we are doing on offense.”
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“The offense is going to be nothing that Holly has ever run here at Holly before,” Lesperance said. “Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a protegee of Brighton so we’ll be doing more of the stuff they do. They do more of a pro-style, but we have that package. We are going to have a lot less plays this year as well.”
The camp had 65 members attend, and Lesperance said there are about 80 players in the program right now. He’s trying to create a family identity among the players in the program from the freshman level to the varsity level. Many of the relays reflected that as players were intermixed with veterans working with the young players.
“I feel like out of all of the years I’ve played here, I feel like the seniors are a lot closer to the younger kids,” Riepe said. “It seems there’s more of a bond being formed.:
“We are all together,” Hignite said. “When I played my sophomore year, we were together, but we didn’t do everything together,” Hignite said. “Now we are all huddled together, and doing all sort of stuff together. We are picking up each other up together. Everything is together. We are trying everyone — varsity, JV and freshmen — to be one program, one football team.”