Conditioning begins for Spartans

The Carpenter High School football team was busy preparing for the upcoming season last week. Coach Craig Paylor said the four-day camp was meant to condition the players and refresh them on tactics and techniques.

The Carpenter High School football team was busy preparing for the upcoming season last week. Coach Craig Paylor said the four-day camp was meant to condition the players and refresh them on tactics and techniques.

by Derek Cornet

The first day of school is still a week away, but Carpenter High School (CHS) football players in Meadow Lake are already geared up for the upcoming season.

Last week, more than a dozen students gathered in Lions Park for the annual CHS football camp. The four-day event was led by Spartan football coach and teacher Craig Paylor, who’s been organizing it since 2003. He said the team requires a lot of practice before the season begins and needs a warm up before their first exhibition game Aug. 29.

“Football is a very physical sport and if kids don’t come in well-conditioned, that’s when injuries are going to happen,” Paylor said.

The students attending the camp exhibited a variety of performance levels. Paylor said some of them had very little experience playing football, while others have been involved with the sport for many years. He noted it’s difficult to get younger students involved because senior players are given the majority of field time while newcomers sit on the sidelines.

“You have to pay your dues,” Paylor said. “But, it’s also about safety because there is such a size difference between new and older players.”

Paylor added the camp was not competitive because everyone, as long as there is enough equipment, will be asked to join the team. He said he’s always looking forward to future years and encourages everyone who may be interested in joining to do so.

With many players returning to the team, Paylor is hopeful this year will be one of the best. He said those athletes will form the core and by doing so, they’ll lead the team into the top ranks in the province.

“I really think we have a legitimate shot at becoming the number one team this year,” he said.
Last season, CHS placed fourth out of six teams, with the final blow coming from the undefeated Delisle Rebels.

Among the students participating in the camp was 17-year-old Dean Poitras who hasn’t missed a camp in four years. He began playing football in Grade 9.

“I stay involved because a lot of my friends play and it’s also a good physical game,” Poitras said.
Also at the camp was 14-year-old Grade 9 student Kiel Burroughs. It was Burroughs’ first year attending and he wasn’t expecting the intensity of it. He noted anyone can play football, but they need to have the physical ability to be competitive.

“There’s quite a bit of training because we need to become conditioned to play well,” Burroughs said.

The Spartans are part of the Northwest Nine-Man Football League, which plays in Conference 4 under Football Saskatchewan. Unchanged from last year, six teams play in the conference. The CHS home opener is set for Sept. 13.

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