The Warrior weight training room was bustling with players during summer workouts. Photo by The Tehachapi News.

Productive Summer Football Practice
Comes To A Close For Warriors

Posted by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News, on July 20, 2015

Head football coach Steve Denman called it a “learning experience for the kids,” and maybe one of the best summer training periods he's ever had.

The Warriors' summer weight and speed training camp ended on Thursday, July 16, after six weeks of intensive strength workouts and conditioning exercises. “It's probably one of the most productive summers we've had,” Denman said.

Between 40 and 60 prospective football players attended the 2-1/2 hour sessions held four days a week for six weeks, starting each day at 6 a.m. The sessions consisted of about 45 minutes of light scrimmaging, an hour of weight training and 45 minutes of running. Now, said Denman, it's up to the players to keep up their training on their own until camp resumes on Aug. 3. “We felt as a staff that we got a lot out of the summer. Now we all need some time off, and we'll get after it again in August,” Denman said.

The Warriors finished last season with a 6-5 record, 3-2 in the South Yosemite League, good for a three-way tie for second and a playoff spot.

They go into the new season of 2015, however, with a new quarterback in Chris Olofson and new running backs, yet to be determined.

Denman and his Warriors face a lot of unknowns. “As far as leadership and work ethic, though, we've got a good group,” he said. With inexperience and without tremendous size, the speed training could be key to any success the Warriors have on offense this season.

To help in that area, Denman brought in former Warrior Paul Martinez, conditioning and speed coach at Centennial and Liberty high schools, who also has his own private conditioning business in Bakersfield (All American Speed & Strength). “He did a lot of flexibility work with our players, speed and conditioning,” Denman said. Martinez also has offered to train the Warriors players for free during this half-month hiatus, if they can get a ride to his training facility in Bakersfield.

“Six weeks, four days a week – it's been a tough grind for the kids, but it's taught them a good work ethic,” Denman said. “How many kids do you know who'll get up at 6 a.m., four days a week to do that. It's like going to a job.” When players return on Aug. 3 at 6 a.m., they'll be getting their paperwork ready, they'll be issued practice jerseys, and then they'll return later in the afternoon for a full workout. Denman said the players will do three two-a-days the first week then begin afternoon workouts on Aug. 10.

Their first game is scheduled for Friday night, Aug. 21 at South in Bakersfield. The Warriors open at home on Friday night, Sept. 4 against Burroughs, and they begin their South Yosemite League schedule on Friday night, Oct. 9 at Independence.

What are Denman's expectations? “You really never know, with luck of the draw and injuries, what will happen,” he said. “It's one of those things. We'll know a lot more when we get the pads on.”

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