Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – Kael Juelfs usually faces his fellow Lee Williams teammates during spring football 7-on-7 practices.
That won’t be the case at 5 p.m. Saturday though, as the highlight of the annual spring game will be the Vols taking on local firefighters at the Lee Williams High School football field.
“It’s good to play against the firefighters and give back to people who help the community day in and day out,” Juelfs said. “A lot of times these guys get reminiscent of the old days and they get pretty pumped up. So it’s pretty cool and everyone is pretty amped when they’re out there.”
The spring game will also feature offensive and defensive linemen receiving punts, an obstacle course against the firefighters and egg jousting.
“It’s kind of a fun deal for the community to come out, watch us and watch the work these kids have done,” Lee Williams football coach Clint Sasse said. “Just have a little fun before we get to the rigors of the season.”
Lee Williams’ Matt Shaw is obviously looking forward the event as a whole, but he also wants to defend his crown in egg jousting.
“Last year was fun because we got to crack eggs on each other’s heads,” Shaw said. “I won that. It’s just really fun to be with my teammates and go out there and play 7-on-7 with the firefighters.”
Lee Williams would make the spring game an actual intersquad scrimmage if it could, but Sasse said they’re not allowed to wear pads at this point in the summer. So the Vols are focused on making it an enjoyable environment.
“The spring game kind of allows them a chance to have a little bit of fun,” Sasse said. “The biggest thing is remembering that football is fun. So many people and so many players get consumed in all this hard work that they forget that it is fun. So that’s kind of what we want to bring back to them.”
That doesn’t mean Lee Williams hasn’t been putting in the necessary hard work. Sasse mentioned they’ve been practicing for at least two and a half hours Monday through Friday.
The Vols could be found at the start of practice Tuesday running a series of short yardage sprints before they took part in individual drills.
The conditioning isn’t the only aspect that Sasse and his staff are focusing on though.
“We push our kids to be three-sport athletes,” he said. “We want them to stay in shape all year. Their conditioning is great all year because they’re in multiple sports, but the main reason we want them in multiple sports is because it retains the competitiveness. It’s easy to lose your competitiveness over the summer if you’re not in a sport and actually competing all the time.”
Lee Williams will also benefit from a strong returning class of seniors next year, with nine Vols expected back on defense and seven on offense. Those numbers also include a strong freshmen class that is getting an early look at Lee Williams football.
“A lot of these young guys get their minds right and know what they’re up against because this is a tough region that we’re in,” Juelfs said. “Knowing all the stuff beforehand is huge and they’re mentally ready. Football is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. So being ready on the mental level helps tremendously. Spring ball helps a lot with that.”