YORK — York Comprehensive High School head football coach Bobby Carroll is a believer that championships are won in the weight room and the offseason.
So he was pleased when this year’s Cougars contingent reported to preseason practice Aug. 2.
“Our kids worked hard in the offseason conditioning program, and it paid off,” Carroll said after Monday’s practice. “Our coaches did an outstanding job with the weight room program.”
Carroll said there hasn’t been much drop-off since spring. “The conditioning also helps the players keep pace in the August heat,” he said.
With the South Carolina High School League limiting preseason practices to three hours daily, the Cougars have been participating in morning workouts. “We will continue the morning practice sessions until schools reopen,” Carroll said.
Speaking before last week’s team cookout and parents’ meeting in the school cafeteria, Carroll shared the philosophies that have carried him through a 31-year coaching career.
“We demand 100 percent effort,” said Carroll, a former York High School Shrine Bowl participant, during an address to hundreds of Cougar supporters filling the York cafeteria.
“We want our kids to be mentally and physically tough and to train their bodies,” he said. “We love kids that get after it.”
Carroll said the coaches want the students to be on time. “We want the players to take pride in what they do,” he said. “Football is the greatest game on earth.”
Carroll lauded the players and coaches for their contributions to restoring York football to title-contending status. “This is the best coaching staff I’ve been around in my 31 years as a high school football coach,” he said.
Peter Vacho of York, a community relations representative for the Carolina Panthers, spoke briefly to the crowd of a new youth football venture this fall, the York Little Cougars.
The group is a member of the Southland Youth Football League, an affiliate of the United Youth Football League.
The group will have a team of 12-and-younger participants, and plans to add more teams in 2014. The team will run an age-appropriate version of the varsity Cougars’ playbook.
Carroll said he supports the new program. “We encourage local participation,” he said. “We’re not trying to compete with the youth football program at the York Rec.”
The varsity Cougars will scrimmage Richland Northeast at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Spring Valley high school stadium in Columbia.
Asked if there was a point of emphasis in the early stages of preseason workouts, Carroll said the coaches have a process.
“With the usual focus on offensive and defensive schemes, the kicking game is getting a close look,” he said. “Every series ends with the kicking game.”
The Cougars began contact drills last week in accordance with High School League guidelines.
Carroll said the team will continue 9 a.m. workouts until the Cougars board a bus for the trek to Columbia on Saturday morning.
The next scrimmage will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, when the Cougars host Ashbrook at the YCHS football stadium. The Cougars open the season 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at home against Chester.