Are you ready? |

Are you ready?

Local high schools start fall practices Monday

Steamboat Springs back Westin Cofer clears a cone during an agility drill at conditioning camp last week.
John F. Russell

— Turning the calendar from July to August brings thoughts of cooler weather, shorter days and the phrase, “back to school.”

But with August also comes a Routt County staple: the start of football season.

For Routt County’s three public high schools – Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Soroco – the season-long journey begins Monday.

All three schools will open with morning meetings and practices that are designed to introduce and refine offense, defense and special teams.

During the past week, all of the programs held voluntary conditioning and football camps to help players get up to speed.

“We’re really concentrating on just giving the kids an overview of offense, defense and conditioning,” Hayden head coach Shawn Baumgartner said. “We want to show them as much as we can.”

Baumgartner said he plans on holding two practices – one from 7 to 8 a.m. and another from 5 to 8 p.m.

The gap in practices is so he can accommodate the schedules of his other two coaches.

Coaches Nathan Frentress and Bob Harris return to Hayden to help Baumgartner round out the coaching staff.

It’s the first time in Baumgartner’s four-year tenure that he’ll return the same coaching staff from the previous year.

“That will really help,” Baumgartner said. “I’ve been very pleased with the coaches and camps. We have a young team and the learning curve has been pretty high.”

For Soroco, this year marks the beginning of an era with Andy Reust as head coach.

After eight years as an assistant coach in Steamboat and three in Soroco, Reust received his first head coaching job.

“I’ve been doing it too many years to get nervous,” Reust said about his first practice as a head coach. “It’s exciting. We look good on paper but that doesn’t mean anything.”

Practices in Soroco start at 8 a.m. on Monday. Normal practices will run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Soroco will have only one practice a day because many players have at least a 45-minute commute, Reust said.

“This is the way things have been done down there for a while,” Reust said. “You have to go with the flow and do the best you can.”

For Steamboat, things will will move a little quicker.

The first practice takes place at 8:20 a.m. Monday and head coach Aaron Finch said he will hold three-a-day practices – 9 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. – because of the regular season schedule. Steamboat Springs’ first game is Aug. 26, leaving them only two full weeks of practice before the season starts.

The artificial turf going into Gardner Field won’t be finished until Aug. 21, but Finch said his team should remain on schedule.

“From a practice standpoint, we would never practice on that,” Finch said. “When it’s finished we’ll be sharing practice time with the soccer team. When it’s done, it will be a real plus for us.”

All participants are reminded to have a recent physical before they begin practices.

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