Hard hits highlighted the Hays Rebels’ final spring practice, which was held in front of fans at Shelton Stadium May 25.
Neal LaHue, Hays Rebel head football coach, said the team had “great effort” on both sides of the ball during a controlled scrimmage.
“I was very happy. We came out of (spring practice) relatively healthy. I was excited about the last spring scrimmage,” LaHue said.
The final practice concluded a spring in which the Rebels conducted a lot of live scrimmaging, LaHue said. The live scrimmages included the team’s running backs, as well as quarterbacks.
The result was players improving on their tackling and blocking skills. He said the drills also aided the quarterbacks in obtaining a better feel in the pocket.
“We made them have to make plays with their feet, and not just with their arms,” LaHue said.
The drills also gave the Rebels a chance to improve their physical abilities on the field as well.
“We got better at the physicality of the game, which is what we shot for in the beginning,” LaHue said.
LaHue said the team’s depth at the running back position is what he felt was a bright spot during spring practice.
Cade Powell, Thai Mayberry, Dallin Roberts and Martin Shoemaker all hit the field this spring.
LaHue said depth is important at the running back position and said the team expects to be in a lot of two running back formations this fall.
“I thought those guys showed the capability of going out and being a slot wide receiver, running routes and catching … That helps us be a little more diverse in our options. I’m happy to see that.” Neal LaHue, Hays Rebel head football coach
He added wide receivers Patrick Guerrero, Nate Tate and Sam Scott had strong spring seasons, along with tight ends Elijah Martinez and Baylor Jordan.
In the trenches, Hays’ offensive line, which includes Phil McSorely, Lyndon Wilson and Brandon Garcia, came together, despite a few injuries. Connor Harkin and Thomas Kazmerski were two younger players who stepped up during the spring.
“The younger guys did a good job coming in at the end and that’s what I was looking for,” LaHue said.
On defense, Hays cornerbacks Hector Fuentes and Blaze Thomas both had strong spring practices. Joining them were corner backs Logan Goebler and Bryer Moritz.
Sam Guzman, a transfer from Crockett High, played well at the inside linebacker spot, LaHue said.
Dom Johnson at outside linebacker was “probably the most dominant guy,” LaHue said. Justin Rodriguez and Ryan Leal both had good springs as well.
He also lauded the play of Aiden Fitzgerald, Curtis Hudgeons and Hamid Julbe.
Encouraging players to participate in offseason power camps, along with 7-on-7 leagues in the summer, is what LaHue hopes players participate in prior to returning Aug. 14.
“7-on-7 isn’t a realistic test of what you do in the fall,” LaHue said. “But it’s good work for those kids.”