If one thing was evident during South Effingham’s first few football practices, it’s that the team needs to get in better shape.
“We got a lot of running to do so we can get in shape,” SEHS second year coach Greg Manior said. “Even though we had a great summer, I think we need a lot of conditioning and that will come in time.”
The Mustangs, like high schools all over the state, hit the field Wednesday through Friday in helmets and shoulder pads. Monday, the team dons the whole outfit.
Manior said when the team practices full force is when he will see more of the holes that his team must fill if the Mustangs want to repeat as sub-region champions.
“We got some holes to fill and we see that now,” he said. “That’s going to be more evident Monday and Tuesday. We have to work hard to fill those holes.”
Despite returning six starters on offense and eight on defense, Manior said the team needs depth on the offensive line, particularly at the tackle position and the secondary needs to step up.
The players, however, are ready to prove themselves and were glad to be on the field.
Four-year starter senior defensive end Cody Miller was one of the players excited to be back in the swing of things.
“It feels great. I’ve been really excited all summer,” he said. “All the guys have been showing up in the weight room and everybody’s busting their butts and it’s really going to show off on the football field.
“Everybody’s hitting hard and we’re doing a lot of things right that we weren’t (doing) last year. We’re playing as a team,” Miller said. “We’re getting where we need to be and are hustling.”
Miller has been to the postseason his first three years with the Mustangs and has two sub-region championships. He wants to make it 4-for-4 for advancing to the playoffs, but understands that everyone will be gunning for the Mustangs.
“I like it (being the favorite). I don’t like being the underdog,” he said. “I like to see everyone come at us and hopefully we will get everyone’s best because we will be giving our best.”
Manior estimated that 85 players practiced during the first few days but he anticipates more freshmen to come out for the team this week. He said the players must have an updated physical and be academically eligible.
The Mustangs have 14 more practices until the team scrimmages Jenkins at 7:30 p.m. Aug 24 at the Corral. The Mustangs open the season in Garden City the following Friday against Groves.