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PHS practices strong

A lack of numbers isn’t keeping the Pleasant Home Eagles football team from having good practices this fall.

Since Aug. 3, the Eagles have been braving the heat with only 22 players reporting for practice.

PHS coach Robert Bradford said the “numbers” issue is not just affecting his team.

“It looks like a recurring theme around the county,” Bradford said. “Our numbers are a little down and Red Level’s numbers are a little down.”

During the first weeks of practice, Bradford said one of the goals was to make sure his players practice “like they mean it.”

“The biggest thing that we’ve got to do over here at Pleasant Home is we’re not going to be able to out-run people and stuff like that,” he said. “In order to be successful, we’ve got to out-physical every team we play. That’s kind of been the calling card of this team. “If we’ve been good at anything, that’s been it,” he said. “That’s something we really wanted to keep going and we kept our identity on that.”

In addition, Bradford said the team worked on special teams and individual players’ positions.

This week, the Eagles have been rehashing what the players learned the first week.

“The biggest thing we tried to emphasize this week was trying to polish everything back up and get the last bit of the learning part in,” Bradford said. “Then, just start to develop a game plan detailing exactly what we’re going to do for this week and kind of narrow down the focus a little bit more instead of it being so broad.”

On that first week of practice, Bradford said he thinks the team did what they were supposed to do.

“We figured out the first week where the kids are going to show up on special teams — who’s going to be the punter, the kicker, the holder and that kind of stuff,” he said. “When you put the pads on, it doesn’t take long to separate the men from the boys. We really got to see who we really could count on and who we can lean on this year.”

Prior to that first day of practice in pads last Thursday, Bradford said he already knew what it was going to be like that day.

“Every kid we’ve got on the team played varsity for us last year,” Bradford said. “So, we had a pretty good idea what we’re going to look like. The first day in pads we just wanted to see how much they’ve advanced over the summer — how much bigger, stronger and more aggressive they’ve gotten over the summer.”

Next Thursday night, the Eagles will face Red Level in a pre-season jamboree game. Bradford said he hopes the team will get a little closer in preparedness for their first regular season game on Aug. 28 against Samson.

“The main focus for us is just to get better by Thursday night and when we get through I want us to be closer to game ready for Samson,” he said. “Also, to make sure we have something on film that we can look back and evaluate and get better from.”