Area high schools begin spring practices, gear up for season

Published 8:35 am Monday, May 9, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
With baseball season winding down, many residents of this state are quickly turning their attention to football.
With the three Atmore area schools beginning spring practice over the coming weeks, it just goes to show that football is just around the corner.
The Northview Chiefs began practice Monday under the direction of head coach Cody Keene. The squad will practice until May 20, when they have the annual spring game.
Keene said what he was looking for from his team over the coming weeks.
"We've got to get our kids to play physical," he said. "That's the biggest thing we want is a physical, physical spring. We've got to run the ball offensively and stop the run defensively. Those are our three goals; to run the ball, stop the run, and become more physical as a team."
In addition to Northview, the Escambia County Blue Devils will begin spring practice Monday, with new head coach Kyle Davis at the helm.
"Our No. 1 goal is to build a team concept," Davis said. "We want everyone to understand that there are no individuals on this team. We need to establish that no one person makes this team. We need to form a cohesive unit. We're only going to have about 10 days of practice because of finals."
The Escambia Academy Cougars and coach Heath Gibson have been hampered by the success of the Cougars' baseball team, who will travel to Selma Thursday to compete in the Alabama Independent School Association's state baseball Final Four. With several members of the football team also playing baseball, Gibson has had to postpone spring practice until next week at best.
"We're probably only going to get two or three days in because of finals," Gibson said.
Practice for EA is tentatively scheduled to begin next Monday.
Davis said he would be getting back to the basics with the Blue Devils.
"If we can get out there in these 10 days and get in our seven basic running plays and two of our basic passing schemes I'll be happy. My main concept is a base running attack. We like to run a spread with a Wing-T concept. I've got about 25 running plays and six passing concepts at the most."
Keene said his team, which will play its intrasquad spring game at 6:30 p.m. on May 20, was trying to obtain one basic skill this spring; leadership.
"Other than the physical play, we're looking for some seniors to step up and lead," Keene said. "We want to see who is going to lead this year. A team without leadership is lost. We've got to have some kids step up and be leaders. We have some working on it and have some trying. If nothing else, we've got to have leaders come out of this spring."
Davis had a few other goals for his team.
"We just need to let the kids learn their basic assignments; on offense and on defense," Davis said. "If we can just learn the basics we'll be all right."

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