As the Callaway Cavaliers get into the thick of preseason practice, with the pads scheduled to come on later this week, the coaches have the routine down pat.
When Pete Wiggins took over the Callaway football program before the 2005 season, he brought a handful of coaches with him.
Now, eight years later, Wiggins and many of those same coaches are still in place, and they’ve enjoyed plenty of success.
Callaway is in the midst of its first full week of practice leading up to the season opener on Aug. 25 against Heard County.
“This is our eighth year together now,” Wiggins said at the start of Monday’s practice session. “We haven’t changed a lot. We feel like we’re getting better reps each day, and we try to increase our tempo and what’s expected of our kids, and our coaching staff. We feel like we’ve done that.”
Wiggins said everyone, from the coaches to the players, is excited about getting back on the practice field.
“All the work in the weight room, and in camps and in passing leagues, and it’s finally here,” Wiggins said. “And the kids are excited. You can feel that excitement at practice each day, and it sure makes it a whole lot of fun to come out here.”
The Cavaliers are coming off yet another successful season after going 7-4 and making it to the state playoffs for the sixth straight season.
The Cavaliers have won at least seven games in each of the past five seasons, and that includes back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2008 and 2009.
Can they keep it going in 2012?
Despite losing some key players to graduation, including quarterback Ricky Parks, the Cavaliers appear poised to keep the good times rolling, especially if some new starters can capably fill the voids left by the departed players.
“You’re always looking for who’s going to mature and be that kid who’s going to fill a spot that you’re missing,” Wiggins said.
The Cavaliers did have a number of younger players occupy key roles a year ago, including freshman Terry Godwin, who had three interceptions and 10 catches as a two-way player.
“We had a lot of young guys that stepped up big for us last year and filled some holes,” Wiggins said. “Those guys are a year older.”
Also back is junior Ricktez Parks, who is slated to take over for his older brother, Ricky Parks, at quarterback.
Ricktez Parks has played extensively in his first two years of high school, and he has taken a lot of snaps at quarterback.
“He’s been a great leader. He’s worked hard all summer,” Wiggins said. “He’s very dedicated.”
The Cavaliers are allowed to go to full pads on Wednesday, although Wiggins said he’s not sure if they’ll start with their full-contact drills on Wednesday or Thursday.
“We haven’t decided yet, but the pads will be on this week, and we’re looking forward to that,” Wiggins said.