Trojans preparing for football camp

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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It’s only mid-June, but football season is just around the corner.

With the first day of practice a little more than a month away, Oak Ridge High’s varsity team got a little 7-on-7 action in June 5 against Colfax. This week they finish with another meeting against Casa Roble before the team heads to their team camp at Southern Oregon University June 21-24.

“We only do a couple of these a summer, and have been meeting Colfax for over a decade now,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We get a long well with the coaching staff and have a lot of mutual respect for each other. It’s a good learning opportunity for all the players.”

The teams get together from anywhere from an hour to two and get their work in. No score is kept, but it’s still competitive. Each team’s offense tries to score, while the goal of the defense is to keep the other team from scoring.

“It’s a learning opportunity and a coaching opportunity, so if a coach sees something he can blow a whistle and instruct his team prior to a play,” Cavaliere said. “We go until we feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted to accomplish and then we wrap it up.”

While the quarterbacks and receivers do their thing on one side of the field, the linemen practice on the other side. When the Trojans go to team camp, they enter two teams into the 7-on-7 competition, one of which is made up of linemen.

“Since California teams aren’t allowed to wear pads for the one-on-one linemen challenge, we enter our big guys in the seven-on-seven competition and they have a lot of fun with it. The first year we did it, they were happy if they scored a touchdown. They thought they just won the Super Bowl. Last year, they actually won a game. They love it.”

As the team camp nears, Cavaliere is pleased with how his team has progressed this spring.

“We have a very green team with only 14 seniors, which is the lowest number I’ve ever had,” Cavaliere said. “We’ve got a lot of first-year varsity starters that are stepping up to fill big roles. We’re finding players every day, so things are going well.”

With the fall sports schedules moving up a week this season so the season finishes up earlier in December, it makes for an earlier season. Oak Ridge opens the season Aug. 17 at Lincoln and will play three games before September.

“I understand why they moved the schedule up and I actually like it,” Cavaliere said. “We’re playing a lot less football during the summer. We only have 14 practices plus four at our team camp, so we only have 18 practices in the summer with the whole month of July off. The only thing that I’d change is I’d move the dead period to June instead of July.”

The Trojans’ first day of practice is July 23.