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EA Cougars gain team unity

For three days, the Escambia Academy Cougars were put to the test by their coach as they attended the team’s second annual camp held in a remote location in the Atmore area.

The camp, which took place last Thursday, Friday and Saturday put the Cougars’ football players through intense workouts as they were required to run two miles each morning as well as work in all-day practices that included 7-on-7 games.

Cougars’ head coach Heath Gibson said the camp was successful, and he saw positive results from summer workouts.

“It went really well,” Gibson said. “I saw a lot of good things from our team. Everyone’s strength has gone up from the beginning of the summer, and 98 percent of the kids are faster. There were a lot of positives.”

Despite the success, the Cougars did have trouble dealing with the intense temperatures.

Gibson said while things started strong staying hydrated became an issue.

“It was really hot for those couple of days,” Gibson said. “We started off strong, but eventually the heat caught up to us, and we had trouble keeping fluids in them. Water breaks were a must in order for us to make it through practice.”

Even before leaving for the camp, the Cougars go through some tests to see how they have progressed during summer workouts.

Gibson and his coaching staff test the speed and strength of the team prior to heading out.

Gibson said the tests include running and getting the max lifts of each player.

“Before we get on the bus to leave, we get maxes, do a speed test and get measurements,” he said. “Our speed test includes doing 220-yard runs to find out the conditioning of each player.”

Upon arriving to the camp, the Cougars begin working on fine tuning their game to be ready once fall practice starts.

Gibson said that the scrimmages and runs are all about adding some conditioning to the players and see how far they will push themselves.

“Once we get there, we begin 7-on-7s and just practice and play all day,” he said. “We also do two-mile runs each morning, which determines if they will get breakfast or not. We are seeing how far they will go before they give in.”

The ultimate goal of the camp though is to get camaraderie among the Cougars’ football team.

Bringing a team together is something that leads to success, according to Gibson.

He said that he thinks the camp is a great benefit because of they way it brings everyone together.

“I think it’s been wonderful,” he said. “It brings us closer together. These guys are like a family. It’s tough out here sometimes when we are working, and when a kid gets weak mentally, the other guys will get behind him and push him through it. Guys get closer at this camp, and the team unity is at an all-time high.”