SIMPSONVILLE – Between the basketball, volleyball and wrestling programs, there have been plenty of championship teams practice inside Hillcrest High’s gym over the years.
At 7 a.m. Friday, the Rams’ football team joined the club.
Coming off its first football region title in school history, Hillcrest opened fall practice for the 2014 season indoors because of heavy rain.
The weather didn’t damper the spirited practice however, and coach Greg Porter noticed a different mindset in this year’s opening practice compared to last year.
While happy to see the confidence success can bring to a program, Porter was ready to move on and have a clear focus on the task at hand.
“My mind-set has changed as well, and on the first day, I sent some kids home. They didn’t come ready,” said Porter. “Those that did come ready stayed and we had a good practice.”
Porter knows his team won’t be overlooked by anyone this season. He said the Rams have to be ready to work even harder.
“We’ve always been chasing, now we’re being chased,” Porter said. “They have to do more than they did last year, because last year’s over.”
The Rams’ fast-break style of no-huddle offense looked right at home on the basketball hardwood at Friday’s practice.
That offense, as well as the defensive secondary, has had plenty of repetitions all summer as Hillcrest competed in 7-on-7 passing leagues and saw its confidence continue to grow.
The Rams finished third out of 32 teams at Auburn, had top five finishes in 7-on-7s at North Gwinnett (Ga.) and Spartanburg, then went 9-2 at the Palmetto State Showdown at Byrnes.
“Our kids did an excellent job, and I’m proud of them,” Porter said. “Now we’ve got to do it with equipment on and with someone coming after you. That’s what we’re trying to prepare them for with our preseason schedule and practice.”
For an exclusive gallery and video from Friday’s practice, go to GreenvilleOnline.com.