Film crew visits Petal football practice

Film crew visits Petal football practice

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Film crew visits Petal football practice

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The Petal Panthers were on stage Tuesday afternoon, but they acted like it was just another day at the office.

Which, in fact, it was.

The Panther football team got a visit from a national media outfit for Tuesday’s preseason practice session as part of the Hell Week Across America documentary package, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Catalyst, a major public relations firm based out of New York City, which handles PR and social media for the national sporting goods company, brought a film and photography crew to Panther Stadium to document Tuesday’s drills.

“We’re showing a wide variety of schools across America, from underfunded programs to well-funded programs like Petal, where they just churn out some of the best athletes in America,” said Derek Goode, senior director of digital for Catalyst.

“We did extensive research on high schools across America, and Petal has got a storied heritage in high school sports, so this was a must-stop on our trip.”

The crew has been traveling across the country since the beginning of last week filming what Dick’s calls Hell Week, the first few days of preseason practice for fall sports.

The crew began the week in Beaumont, Texas, and will move on to Hoover, Ala., today, before making stops in Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland and Pennsylvania over the next week and a half.

“In general, what we’re doing is documenting the trials and tribulations of moments during these first practices that student-athletes are going through to prepare for a new season,” said Goode.

“It’s the whole mentality of championships start here, of hard work and of capturing those moments through these practices.”

It is no coincidence that Catalyst came to Petal, as the Panthers have been at a high level in football for most of the past decade.

“It’s a tribute to our football program that they picked our team,” said Petal coach Marcus Boyles.

“You start with the foundation Steve Buckley laid here for five years that we’ve continued to build on. That’s what we talk about with our kids. The foundation’s been laid. They’ve played for a state championship here, and we’re trying to build on that.”

Both video and still photographers were on hand to record Petal’s workout Tuesday, with the finished product to appear later this month in edited form on Dick’s Sporting Goods social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as a website dedicated to the program.

Although football is the centerpiece of the program, Catalyst is also visiting successful girls’ soccer and volleyball programs.

“What we’ll be doing is capturing those visceral moments during Hell Week,” said Goode. “We’ll go from stretching to conditioning to those moments when players want to give up, then showing the perseverance of sticking with it.”

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