By TONY IERDAM
From the day after the Mineral Wells Rams’ last football game in November, the Rams have been working hard in off-season drills and in “spring football practice” the past semester in preparation for the 2013 grid season.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said off-season football practice is broken down into four phases, with each early phase bringing it to the fourth and final stage which the Rams are presently undertaking.
Class 3A and lower classifications do not enjoy the luxury of actual “spring football practice” like Classes 4A and 5A, and instead must do weight lifting, conditioning and “football drills” during the in-school athletic period.
The Rams are now working in football drills, including seven-on-seven work, to not only prepare for next season but also to get ready for the seven-on-seven season that runs into June.
Ram Stadium will host some of the seven-on-seven dates, but those dates have yet to be announced.
Phase One was weight lifting, phase two had the team lifting three days a week with a running program one day a week. Phase three was cross-fit work, and in all the phases the Rams work on seven-on-seven drills.
The final stage is group and team work on the football field.
“Early on we hit the weights very, very hard,” Lawrence said. “We have our four big lifts, and we have a special section where we worked on individual football work.
“We have put in seven-on-seven work all off season, and we have been pleased with purr cross-fit work where we combine weight lifting and conditioning.
“We are trying to break them down to get tougher mentally as well as getting some specific muscle group work. Cross fit is kind of like an obstacle course with weight lifting in it.
“It is real good fitness work, but it also combines mental toughness.”
Steering the Rams’ ship on offense is quarterback Caleb Acosta, who will be a junior next year and in his second season as MWHS signal caller.
Acosta has looked like a veteran during seven-on-seven drills, checking off audibles and looking away from intended receivers, a skill he lacked last year as a rookie QB on the varsity level.
“Caleb’s progression will be vital to our success,” Lawrence said. “We had a lot of injuries at wide receiver (in the 2012 season) and those guys who stepped in and got playing time have benefitted in the spring.
“The receivers will be very important to us. We lost Gilbert Castorena to graduation, so Josh Hardy and Kolby Parks have worked in at running back. But both of those guys will also play defense next year.”
Lawrence added that seven-on-seven work has been split between the offense and defense.
“The rest of the time we have been in the weight room,” he said. “We have also dedicated one day a week to our special teams (kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return, field goal, extra point).
“We are going to have to play better in all phases of our special teams this next year in order to win some games, so we have paid extra attention to that area.
“Our kids are bigger and stronger, but we are going to have to make up for the fact that we have lost a lot of big linemen that we have had the last few years.
“We are still going to be big, we just aren’t going to be as tall. Our strength training is very important now and we need to keep the same work ethic – weight work and conditioning – in the summer.”
Lawrence said one of the aspects of his team that he likes best this spring is its overall attitude.
“There has been a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of effort, and we have to have that” he said. “Caleb is throwing the ball well and the receivers are working hard.
“Again, we lost a lot of offensive and defensive linemen, and the guys we have in those spots are going to have to grow. But each and every one of them has improved this spring.”
Lawrence said he and his staff want to have a decent idea of where everyone is on the depth chart when they conclude spring drills in late May.
“We need to have a good idea of where everyone is at so we can start planning where our position competitions will be in August,” he said. “Another goal of spring is to get out without any injuries so we can hit the ground running in August.”
By TONY IERDAM
- Local Sports
Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2
While the rest of Mineral Wells ISD was relaxing on spring break, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams were going to work. In their District 6-3A opener, Tuesday night, at Kessler Field, the Lady Rams demolished the rival Castleberry Lady Lions, 16-2, in just four-and-a-half innings, bringing their season record to a glowing 17-5.
The weather wasn't the only thing heating up, Monday afternoon. The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (16-5) were simply on fire in both phases of the game as they crushed the Graham Lady Blues, 10-0, in five innings at Kessler Field.
Protecting their home turf
After finishing the first day of the Mineral Wells Tournament a perfect 3-0, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams (15-4) were back in action Friday with a double-header to close out the home portion of the tourney.
Rams shine at Brock Tournament
BROCK – The Mineral Wells Rams (9-6) had a strong showing at the Brock Tournament, Thursday and Friday, as they continued to lay a firm foundation for the rest of their season.
After over a month of speculation, the Ram faithful have a new leader in which to place their hope.
Friday night, the Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees announced their decision to hire Waco Midway's Co-Offensive Coordinator Gerald Perry as the new Athletic Director and head football coach of Mineral Wells High School.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2