KINGSTON — Sixty-eight fatigued Kingston High School Buccaneers pushed themselves through agility drills Wednesday, running from station to station under the sweltering heat of the August sun.
It was a day KHS football head coach Dan Novick had been waiting for since he arrived in Kingston in May.
“I have got goose bumps. It feels great to be out here,” Novick said minutes before the first practice got underway. “I am really excited for our kids and coaches. I am pleased with the numbers. We have a lot of kids out here.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Gage Leigh said he has had Aug. 15 circled on his calendar since spring.
“I have been waiting all year for this. I have been in here every day lifting weights to get ready for the season. Now the season is finally here,” he said.
Leigh has set his sights on a few lofty goals for the 2007 season.
“I would like our team to go .500. Our whole team wants to do well in the first year of the school,” he said. “My individual goal is to earn a gold helmet. A gold helmet is an award you receive for getting 15 big hits during the season.”
Junior defensive tackle Preston Elzey couldn’t wait to get on the Buccaneers state-of-the-art synthetic field for the first practice.
“This is a day we have been waiting for,” he said. “This is probably one of the nicest fields I have ever seen for a high school team.”
Elzey said the Buccaneers football squad has the right attitude for success.
“Our team has a great mentality that we built up over the summer. That’s really important,” he said. “Our coach had each of us set goals this season. He’s made everything really competitive and is an encouraging coach. I am excited to get the season started.”
Novick said he was satisfied with his team’s performance on the first day.
“After practice there was a buzz in the locker room,” he said. “We’re off to a good start. They have a pretty good idea of what they’re getting into. It’s going to take them awhile to get acclimated to the practice schedule and the hot temperatures.”
Although the Buccaneers boast just four players with varsity- level playing experience, they make up for it with sheer numbers.
Novick said he is glad a large contingent of KHS students decided to play football this year.
“We’ve got a good problem to have,” he said. “We have to find a way to get every player as many reps as possible at their positions.”
The season will see the Buccaneers improve immensely from August to October, Novick said.
“We’re competing against ourselves. As a coaching staff, we want each player to get better each week and take forward steps in the development of their skills,” he said.
The Buccaneers kickoff the 2007 season against Union High School at 5 p.m. Aug. 31 at North Kitsap Stadium.