LAKEVIEW — Don’t settle for average.
That is the message being relayed from Lakeview football coach Sean Rinehart to his team. This week’s minicamp was just one more step the program is taking toward a second season under Rinehart.
The weeklong minicamp saw an increase in attendance from a year ago. That bodes well for the football season, which begins with the first official practice on Aug. 11. The regular season kick offs at home against Tri County on Aug. 28.
“We had about 45 to 50 guys, which is about five to 10 more than we averaged last year,” Rinehart said. “The kids are excited. I think a lot of it stems from the success we had last year. They are coming in, working hard and talking to their friends.
“We have eight to 10 brand new players out here that want to learn and get better. I’m excited.”
The focus of the camp was learning and improving on football fundamentals for the season.
“This was about making sure we learn the basic football drills,” Rinehart said. “Learn how to tackle correctly, block correctly and getting in condition. We are a team that looks to run the ball a lot and have to be in condition.”
On Friday, as the weeklong camp was wrapping up, the Wildcats — Rinehart included — rotated through various conditioning/strength drills, which included running, down-ups, hitting a giant tire with a sledgehammer, flipping the same size tire and more.
“We do like a county fair deal. We do stations and I want to get more sledgehammers and tires,” Rinehart said. “It’s a workout I brought from North Carolina that the kids really loved. Just another thing to keep us moving around and building muscles and different skills. They love it.”
As for getting into the workout mix himself, Rinehart said it is something he has always done.
“I love working out with the kids. I do it out here and in the weight room,” Rinehart said. “I think it’s contagious. They see me not stopping, working through pain and being tired. They know they are going to be tired, but seeing me do it just kinds of motivates them.”
Rinehart, who previously coached in North Carolina, said his program had enough players to specialize in positions and not play on both sides of the ball. That isn’t that case at Lakeview.
“Kids not only have to play both ways, but they want to,” Rinehart said. “Nate (Shurlow) always wants to play defense and be on kickoff and kick return. That’s good having those kids that want to play. Being in good condition is a big part of that.”
Just two weeks from the start of training camp, Rinehart noted a couple of Wildcats players he has seen improvement from. Two of those players contributed to Lakeview’s 7-3 record a year ago and first playoff appearance since 2006.
“Caleb Ruvalcaba was an important piece of our offense and defense last year. He was our kicker, too,” Rinehart said. “He is even getting better. He is more athletic, he moves better and is going to be an important receiver for us and a great linebacker.
“John Zuluaga-Torres is getting bigger, stronger and his speed and acceleration has improved immensely,” he added. “John was a great running back last year and I’m looking for him to have an even bigger year.”
Lakeview turns its attention the early part of next week to its youth players with another camp.
This camp is for players third through eighth grade. The cost is $30 and can be paid during registration on Monday at 8 a.m. The camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Lakeview will begin its training camp with its second annual midnight practice on Aug. 11.