Lansdale area football teams open practice

LANSDALE >> Game night still rules supreme, but not far behind on the high school football calendar is the first day of full practice.

Teams all across Pennsylvania hit the fields Monday for their first, and likely second, practices of the 2015 fall season. While teams were able to use last week as the heat acclimation period, the three day period features no contact and two days of only helmets and shoulder pads.

Monday, Reporter/Montgomery teams put on the full suit and got to work. North Penn began its season preparation in the morning and got to hitting in its second practice of the day.

“It feels good,” Knights senior quarterback Jake Bevan said. “I think this year’s team has a lot of potential. We still have a lot to learn, our line still has to gell but we have a lot of talent and if we work hard enough, I think we can win the league again.”

North Penn High School football practice Monday, August 17, 2015. (Geoff Patton —The Reporter)
North Penn High School football practice Monday, August 17, 2015. (Geoff Patton —The Reporter)

North Penn is coming off a 7-4 campaign in 2014, but the Knights went 6-1 in conference to win the SOL National. Coach Dick Beck has Bevan back under center along with standout tailback Nyfease West to lead the offense.

With La Salle visiting in one of the premier Week 1 matchups, the anticipation for the start of practice was high for the Knights players. North Penn also visits Downingtown East in Week 3 in a new nonleague matchup.

“It’s great to get here with the pads on for the first time this summer,” North Penn senior tight end/defensive end Keith Earle said. “We can only get better. It’s one step at a time, you just keep progressing.”

A short drive away, Lansdale Catholic also opened camp with eyes on improving on a 5-6 season in 2014. Ryan Quigley, the PCL Class AA Player of the Year, returns for his senior season and should lead the Crusaders on both sides of the ball.

LC went the morning and evening route for practice, wrapping up the first day with the last streaks of sun reaching across the sky. With plenty of experienced players returning, including 18 seniors, the Crusaders were looking forward to getting back to work.

“It’s awesome,” LC senior Steve Petrusky said. “This morning was great, tonight was a little rough, but we’re going to get through it.

“The goal of the first day is to see where we’re at and actually set our goals and see where we want to go.”

LC got to lock pads at the end of Monday’s second session, pitting offense against defense, without anybody getting taken down.

Acclimation is necessary, especially with the high temperatures on deck this week, but it also leaves the athletes wanting to go full throttle. For many players, it’s just a way to build more excitement for the real thing.

“You build up to it, then it’s time to roll,” LC senior running back/safety Marlon Fenstermacher said. “We need full participation from the team. We’re only as strong as our weakest link so we all have to get together and we all have to work hard and that’s how the first day has to go.”

While Day 1 won’t make the season, it still holds plenty of value. Even with summer team camps and other activities becoming more and more prevalent, putting the entire squad on the field together for the first time is a special feeling.

“For us, we have 18 returning seniors so that’s a lot of returning starters,” Petrusky, a running back/cornerback, said. “We have to help a lot of the young kids to be prepared and be hyped up.”

Bevan said the first day is a good way to asses where the team is at the start as well as address things like timing and routes to refine through camp.

Usually, football has a head start on most other fall sports, but a late Labor Day this year meant all sports started the same day.

While school isn’t in session for a few more weeks, vacation is over for all walks of athlete across the area.

Sacrificing those precious few days to sleep in is one any willing athlete will make.

“You’ve gotta love the game,” Earle said. “You have to love the game to get you out of bed. You wake up and it’s the dedication to get you on the field so you can play Friday nights and give everything you’ve got for the community.”

“It’s the love for football,” Fenstermacher said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now honestly. Working hard is what I like to do.”

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