On August 20, the Varsity football team took the field for the first of their annual
preseason workouts. While it was certainly a time to dust off the pads, break in new cleats, and re-familiarize with football concepts, it was far from being a slow easing into the sport.
The team participated in “three-a-days,” in which they practiced from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM, again from 2:00 until 4:30 PM, trained for an hour in the weight room, and finished with an hour-long practice from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
Weeks of physical training prior to the beginning of the actual season is necessary for the well-being of the players. “To just pick up and start hitting it [could be bad]. So we went our first two days with just helmets on, and then we added our shoulder pads for three days, and worked up to full pads,” said Varsity Coach Andy Verboys.
Preseason takes a physical toll on the players. “No one likes preseason, but we have to do it if we’re going to be a winning team, which Scarsdale hasn’t been for years,” explained Nick Allen ’12. Nevertheless, Allen does acknowledge the large amount of progress that’s made during preseason from “running, weight lifting, learning plays and doing drills based on positions.”
However, in addition to physically preparing the team for a long season, the sunny August days provided time for the players to go beyond the Xs and Os and strengthen their team trust. “This is where the team comes together to become one unit. It is important to know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses,” explained seventh-and-eighth grade football coach Rippy Philipps.
Preseason helps players learn to be team players. “Football is a team sport where it’s imperative that eleven kids work together in any scenario,” said Verboys. Cliff Gelb ’13, a three-sport athlete, added, “Preseason is good because it gets the team going before school actually starts…. It’s definitely necessary for football because you need a lot of stamina.”
As in years past, the 2010 Varsity team entered preseason with determination and confidence. This year, for the first time, incoming freshman participated in preseason. “Stretching with the Varsity team is a fun way to experience what we will be doing in future years,” said Jeff Leone ’14. “They’re going to go into freshman year with the speed skills and they are going to be stronger than they’ve ever been,” JV coach Ryan Lambiasi told the Scarsdale Inquirer. After having coached almost all 32 players for the past two years, Philipps believes that “they are a talented group which will complement the grade ahead of them in years to come.”
Now that this year’s strenuous preseason has finally concluded, the Raiders are ready for the real season. Much of their newfound mental and physical toughness, team chemistry, football knowledge, and determination to win can be dedicated to the work put in over the last couple of weeks. Jenn Somboonthum ’13 said it best when he noted that preseason “is all hard work, but in the end, it all pays off.”