KINGMAN – It wasn’t a typical day for a scrimmage, but that didn’t stop the Lee Williams High School football team from lacing up the cleats and battling on the gridiron Wednesday in Prescott.
“We saw just what we wanted to see,” said Vols head coach Clint Sasse. “The kids didn’t lose any physicality – we played fast and physical. That’s been our philosophy the last two years. It’s good not to see a drop off in that.”
Lee Williams didn’t return home until well after midnight, but went right back to work Thursday afternoon. However, it was a lighter practice with film study and then a walk through on the field.
“These kids have been practicing since May, basically,” Sasse said. “We’ve gone from spring ball right into our summer strength and conditioning, then our skills and drills afterwards. They were ready to hit somebody else and it was a lot of fun.”
The Vols have kept their team contact and tackling drills to very limited and controlled space during practices. That doesn’t mean they haven’t gone at full speed, but Sasse knew the players were glad to finally tackle in a live game environment.
More importantly, it gave Sasse and his staff an opportunity to see the development from the start of summer to now. But unlike many programs, Lee Williams isn’t necessarily sticking to a “depth chart.”
“Starter isn’t that big of a deal here because we try to keep our players fresh,” Sasse said. “We rotate a lot at the skill positions and try to rotate as much as we can on the offensive and defensive line. We have a lot of guys who can play a lot of different positions – which is great for us.”
The Vols will put that philosophy to the test Friday at 7 p.m. against Lake Havasu – which is a week earlier than last season. Sasse has yet to coach Lee Williams during a “zero week,” but found a willing opponent in the Knights.
“We kind of wanted that break in the middle of the season so we can heal and focus our minds back up,” Sasse said. “We were pushing for the zero week and we got it. It’s a little weird, but at the same time we’ll still have a solid three weeks of practice before our first game.”
Only time will tell if the early start pays dividends, but on paper it looks as if it should. The Vols will face 4A Grand Canyon Region opponents Bradshaw Mountain (Sept. 14) and Mingus (Sept. 21) and then have break before finishing their 2018 schedule.
“We have two tough region opponents and then we get that week off to heal up and reset,” Sasse said. “Then go after the region.”