Sandy Creek prepares for upcoming football season

Fri, 07/20/2007 - 9:16am
By: Kevin Wandra

The start of the 2007 football season is a little over a month away, and perhaps no team is working harder in preparation for the upcoming season than the Sandy Creek Patriots.

Creek’s voluntary offseason program began the last week of June, with the Patriots working out from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday-Thursday. The workouts, which consist of weightlifting, running, throwing against themselves and position-specific drills, go all the way to July 31.

“The kids have been working extremely hard,” Patriots coach Chip Walker said. “They’re a great group of kids. We’re going to be extremely young this year, so the kids need all the work they can get.”

The Patriots’ offseason workout program also includes speed camp twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9 to 11 a.m. Walker feels the speed camp is essential for addressing one of the team’s most significant weaknesses last season.

“One of our weaknesses last year was we needed to get faster,” Walker said. “I felt like we were not fast enough. We hope the speed camp pays off.”

In addition to the weekly workouts, Creek has been participating in a passing league once a week, sometimes twice a week, since mid-June. The Patriots have thrown against Starr’s Mill, East Coweta, Northgate, Landmark Christian, Newnan and Troup County.

Creek also participated in two School of Champions camps in June at Middle Georgia College, the first for quarterbacks and receivers, the second for offensive linemen.

Rio Johnson, who will be in his first season as Creek’s starting quarterback this year, was the star of the quarterbacks and receivers camp, taking first place in the junior-senior contest. Johnson has been impressive during the summer, Walker said.

“Rio has thrown the ball really well,” Walker said. “He has had a good summer. He has worked hard on learning the offense. He just has to take it to Friday nights.”

Other Patriots who excelled at the quarterbacks and receivers camp were wide receiver Mark Ellis, who took second in the junior-senior competition, wide receiver Patrick Alexander, who placed second in the 10th-grade competition, and quarterback Ronnie Belle, who finished fourth in the 9th-grade contest.

The Patriots worked further on their passing game July 10, when they took 28 kids to a passing league camp at Georgia Tech.

Conditioning will continue into August, when, on the first day of the month, Creek opens fall camp at its school. The team will stay at camp until the players are let out at 9 p.m. on August 3.

Creek will come back to camp August 5 and finish August 7.

The Patriots’ camp will be intense; there will be four practices each day.

“We’ll work the kids hard during fall camp,” Walker said. “It’s a great way to get ready for the season, and it’s a good bonding experience.”

Creek plays host to Starr’s Mill in a preseason jamboree August 24.

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