Tigers laboring now for successful fall

AIA returns to old ways, Academy in 2A

Academy junior-to-be quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup fires a pass during the Tigers’ spring football practice Friday at Southside Park. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

Academy junior-to-be quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup fires a pass during the Tigers’ spring football practice Friday at Southside Park. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

KINGMAN - Only two players from last year's roster will be missing this season for the Kingman Academy football Tigers. The Tigers played up in Division IV and went 1-9 last year, and with the move down to the old, new 2A Conference for the 2016 season, the Academy is looking forward to more wins.

Making that happen has been in the works in the weight room over the winter, and now the Tigers have taken it out onto the field for spring football.

"This has been the best off-season since I've been here," said third-year KAHS football coach Dan Stroup. "The line are all squatting over 300. That's from the experience they got last year. They learned they needed to get stronger."

This will also be the first year the Tigers have a JV football team. The younger players over the years at the Academy generally have had a lot of practice with very little playing time because they had to dress with the varsity.

"We're very excited about that," Stroup said. "That is going to help us with the kids who aren't experienced. We're going to have a lot of kids who now know they are going play."

Friday ended the first of the three-week spring football season at Southside Park for the Tigers. It was evident that the team is more mature physically as it worked on its playmaking skills.

Junior quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup is entering his third year on varsity. His arm is much stronger and he possesses stature. He's happy to be at spring practice.

"This is where you put in all your work," Makaiwi-Stroup said. "When the season comes, you can play but you're not going to be good if you haven't practiced before. If you wait until the season comes, you're not going to be prepared. And if you're not prepared, you're not going to get those 'W's."

The Tigers will be playing a level lower and getting more than one 'W' is on the agenda.

"We've got high expectations," the coach said.