LANCASTER – The calendar shifted to August on Saturday, which means high school football teams can get started.
Lancaster, along with most of the other area schools, began practice on Saturday.
“We are trying to get our kids back into the football thought process after giving them a week off after having a successful summer,” said Rob Carpenter, who is entering his 18th season as Lancaster’s head coach. “You don’t want to give them another weekend off and then start your week off bad. We had a good solid practice (Saturday) and when we come in on Monday, it starts your week on the right foot.
“Next week is the most important week. We will go six days in a row with two-a-day practices. Kids are looking to get their spot on the depth chart, putting in your special teams, your offensive and defensive schemes during that time. We are just trying to get them back in the flow of things today.”
Senior linebacker Eric Deluse said even though the Golden Gales only had one practice Saturday, it was still a tough one because of having a week off.
“We had a week off and I think we needed that because we had a busy summer,” Deluse said. “It was a slow start to practice, which is to be expected because we had that week break. But as the day went on, everyone was getting hyped and getting better.”
Lancaster will have to replace a large senior class that was full of leadership. The Gales bounced back in 2014 after 3-7 and 5-5 seasons by going 7-3, including 5-0 at home.
“Leadership is very important, and it will be again this year,” Deluse said. “We had great leadership last year and they kept everyone in check. We have leaders like that this year and they will need to step up.
“We have a smaller team this year and it’s all going to be about heart and keep pushing through.”
After practicing in helmets and shorts, the Gales will be in full pads and the first day of full contact won’t take place until next Thursday.
Lancaster will have three scrimmages to prep for the season opener at home against DeSales. The Gales will also be home in Week 2 against Dublin Jerome and on the road at Walnut Ridge before beginning Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division play.
Saturday was just a continuation of what the Gales have been doing all summer. But Carpenter realizes how important senior leadership is, and that is what the coaches are looking for during the preseason.
“Leadership is huge and that’s what you try to develop in the summer and next week,” Carpenter said. “We want to carry over the success we had last season. But to be successful, you have to have really good senior leaders.”