The Tigers are hoping their extra work will bring forth a more fruitful 2014-2015 season
WAYNESVILLE — Last season's 5-7 (3-6 in Ozark Conference) season, wrapped up with a 35-0 loss to rival Camdenton in the cold and rainy Class 5 District 4 championship game, has left a sour taste in the Waynesville Tiger football team's mouth.
Ever since that devastating championship game, the Tigers have been ready to get back into the ring with their district foes, and have been prepping themselves with off-season workouts.
“We've been going at it ever since Thanksgiving,” Waynesville coach Rick Vernon said. “We've had a great winter workout and spring workout.
“We've gone four days a week — Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is our weightlifting days. On Wednesday, this year we call it Wednesday winners. That day is full of tough, individual drills. A lot of things that make you mentally tough.”
The turnout has been outstanding for Vernon and the Tigers.
83 have signed up for the camp that began last week and there's nearly that many that show up every day.
“We're having around 80 kids participating with us each day,” Vernon said. “There's a lot of good freshmen coming in and we've got a lot of older kids working hard and looking well.”
As for how the team is shaping up, senior Varon Martinez returns to run-and-gun at quarterback, while seniors Darren Garcia and William Finch will come back to the line. A stable of running backs include seniors Willie Parker and Jalen Thomas as well as junior Seth Hedrick, who saw some time in the slot last year. Seniors Tony Smith and Jason Smith will come back to the defense, Tony as a strong safety/outside linebacker and Jason as a free safety.
That being said, Vernon isn't quick to give anyone the feeling of job security this year. A couple of times during camp on Friday position coaches swapped out players that were rotating with the first and second teams.
“You don't know [what you have] until you start hitting and doing those things,” Vernon said. “On the 13th and 14th we go to St. Louis and we have scrimmages up there. There will be three on Friday night and three on Saturday night against some of the better teams in St. Louis and that's where we'll found out a little bit more about some of our players.”
One thing he won't have to worry about is motivation. Camdenton has provided enough of that.
“I think that [game] gave our kids a lot of drive to be successful this year,” Vernon said.