Football: The weight is over

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— Before helmets begin butting and pads start popping, weights will start flying at Steamboat Springs High School.

"We're ready to hit the weight room hard this summer," said Tanner Barr, the projected starting quarterback for the Sailors.

"It's a good time for us to come together as a team and get psyched about the new season."

On June 18, the doors to the high school's weight room will open for the football players, Sailors head coach Mark Drake said.

The summer weightlifting program, which stretches

from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, is open for anyone in grades 9-12 who is interested in playing football.

Starting after July 4, the players will also work on conditioning, play timing and agility Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Summer practices begin in mid-August, while the first regular-season game is scheduled for Aug. 30 against Middle Park in Granby, Drake said.

JoJo Bucci, a star lineman on last year's state playoff squad who played both ways, said weight lifting is a crucial part of getting ready for football season.

"If you come prepared," Bucci said, "you can become a lot meaner on the field."

Steamboat's varsity and junior varsity teams recently completed a spring football camp where more than 60 athletes were exposed to a new defensive package, and some different offensive plays Drake said.

According to the coach, at least seven individuals tested highly in the 40-yard dash, breaking into the 4.7 to 4.9 range.

Barr, the backup to Rusty Eck last year at quarterback, is the leading candidate for the starting job, Drake said.

He will be joined in the quarterback race by junior Joel Adams and sophomore David May.

Eck, a graduating senior, threw for more than 1000 yards in 2000.

A couple of other big changes will affect the Sailors, including the loss of 1,100-plus yard rusher Stewart Beall, along with 20 other graduating seniors.

There also will be several changes in the coaching staff.

Lonn Clementson, an assistant for the varsity last season, will replace retired coach Bruce Wenzlau as the defensive coordinator, Drake said.

And at the junior varsity level, Jerry Stabile is expected to take over the head coaching job for Bert Svendsen, who recently announced his retirement.

Mike McCannon likely will be an assistant coach for the JV, Drake said.

Drake also is looking at hiring a third JV coach, he said.

Bob Harris, who came out of retirement last year to help coach, will be back in charge of the varsity's offensive and defensive lines.

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