by JASON GORDON
The Hays High football team took its summer workout sessions to the next level on Friday when the Rebels practiced in full pads for the first time.
Both coaches and players alike were pleased with not only the progress Hays made during only one week of practice, but with the sounds of football collisions that can only be made and heard when a team is in full pads.
“This is a day I’ve been looking forward to since spring practice ended,” said Hays linebacker Devin Jennings. “It isn’t football unless you’ve got full pads on.”
Hays guard William Trevillion said it was easy to tell who had been working this summer.
“This is when you get to find out which guys on your team are going to be the playmakers,” Trevillion said. “You get to see who’s been working their tails off over the summer and who is well conditioned. I was very pleased with the way our team looked on both Friday and Saturday.”
Hays head coach Blake Feldt said he thought the Rebels made progress every single day during the first week of summer workouts.
“I was really pleased with our first two days in full pads,” Feldt said. “We had a lot of guys stepping up. It was a great first week overall, capped by two great days of full-pad workouts.”
Feldt singled out sophomore wide receiver Grayson Rigsby and slot receiver/running backs Shawn Leerssen and Ty Goebler as standouts during the first week.
Feldt also said he thinks his senior quarterback, Caleb Kimbro, who threw for more than 2,200 yards and ran for more than 900 yards in 2011, is as sharp as ever.
“Caleb is throwing the ball very well and he’s obviously got a better grasp of the offense than he did a year ago, because he’s had a whole offseason to work,” Feldt said. “He looks faster than he’s ever been, and that great speed is something that will definitely help us this season.”
Hays’ defense has also looked sharp under new defensive coordinator Chris Ellis.
Feldt said defensive end Kyle Cox, cornerbacks Jared and Christian Rodriguez, linebackers Aaron Johnson and Colin and Caleb Hubert, have all looked sharp so far this summer.
“We have more experienced players on defense this season, so I think that will automatically make us better,” Feldt said. “We flew to the ball last year and were a very scrappy bunch, and I think that will be our identity again. We will just be a bigger, stronger version of that, because the guys have worked so hard since the end of last season.”
Hays hosts Canyon High this Friday at Shelton Stadium at 10 a.m. for its only scrimmage of the summer.
Canyon will move up to Class 5A after spending the past two seasons in Hays’ District 27-4A.
“Canyon will give us a real challenge because they line up and come right at you,” Feldt said. “They are definitely a smash-mouth football team and they are always talented. It will be exactly what we need at this point of the summer practice schedule.”
Kimbro agrees with his head coach.
“Canyon will show us exactly what our weaknesses are and what we need to work on heading into our first game of the season,” Kimbro said. “They are a very solid Class 5A team and will be a great test.”
The Rebels will open the season at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Burbank at the San Antonio ISD Sports Complex.