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Building the mind, body: Springwood football begins seven-on- seven games, practice

During the 2020 summer, Springwood was unable to use its weight room, as the school had strict COVID-19 protocols set in place. This forced then-head coach John Gartman to mainly focus on cardio, as the team held various workouts on the field to get ready for the season.

Now that Springwood has relaxed its COVID-19 protocols, the Wildcats have been living in the weight room for the month of June, focusing on getting stronger so they can compete for a full season.

“Our kids in June just lifted weights, trained and got physically and mentally invested in themselves,” head coach Kurt Page said. “They got invested in their mental outlook and putting in some work and time. Our guys play so many different sports that they need a month or two where they’re concentrating on eating and lifting. I think Cooper Champion has gained 10 or 15 pounds, so that’s big. That started back in May.”

Monday was the first day that Springwood started working on football. Monday was the first day the Wildcats were in their helmets practicing, going through Page’s system after hitting the weight room.

On Tuesday, Springwood traveled to Flint River Academy in Georgia to play in a couple of seven-on-seven games. Springwood also played Flint River during the spring game in May.

“It’s been really exciting. We’ve had good participation,” Page said. “We’re able to get two days in for lifting and installation and one day we were able to compete over at Flint River with Rock Springs, Skipstone [Academy] and Flint River for about a two-hour session, doing a lot of seven-on-seven and linemen individual work … We look forward to going back and working with them next week. There’ll be some different teams there too. It’s been good.”

Champion, Trestin Garrett and Jon-Jon Johnson are three players that Page said have improved a lot during the summer.

Garrett will be the team’s center after missing the 2020 season with a knee injury. According to Page, Garrett excelled during the lineman one-on-one drills on Tuesday.

“Tristen really dominated in those categories,” Page said. “He really stood out. He did a really good job.”

Champion will return to playing quarterback for the Wildcats in 2021. This summer, Page said that his rising senior quarterback has gained weight and played well during the summer matchups.

“He can be a difference-maker for us,” Page said. “He had a good throwing day for us. He’s really going to have to run the ball some. He’s tough. I can see him being the face of our franchise, as he’s the senior quarterback. He’s coachable, smart. His biggest thing is putting weight on and holding his weight. With us throwing as much as we want to throw the ball and with him running as much as we want him to have the ball in his hands… he’s done good throwing the ball.”

Johnson has progressed playing cornerback and will most likely line up on the right side of the field on defense, as Page doesn’t move players from one side of the field to the other if he can help it.

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