Monday was quite possibly one of the hottest, if not the hottest, day of the summer, with temperatures really getting up there. With football season starting next week, there is no time to take days off so the Chiefs took the field Monday, in shorts and helmets.
But, while most coaches probably would have taken it easy, Hubbard’s Mac Hampton decided to use it to his advantage, with a little extra conditioning. As players ran back and forth Hampton told his kids “I’m testing you. I want to see who is going to crack under pressure, and who is going to fight in the fourth quarter.”
For Hubbard, probably more than any other school, mental toughness is so important. That’s not to say it’s not important at the other schools, it definitely is. However, being the smallest school in the county in class 1A, the vast majority of Chiefs players have to be ready to play both ways for whole games. At least seven players will start both ways, playing almost every snap. Several more will rotate playing the bulk of snaps both ways. It’s the grind of playing football in 1A.
“You have to give them a test out here to get an idea what they will do in the heat of the battle on Friday nights,” Hampton said. “It’s a correlation. If they’ll give it all they have out here in practice when it’s tough, then, without a shadow of a doubt, they’ll give it to you on Friday nights.”
The Chiefs had a drastic turn around last year, going from 2-8 to 8-3. But a stumble at the end in a first round home playoff loss to Winterboro prompted Hampton to remind his team of that loss and the mental toughness it’s going to take to achieve their goals of making a deep playoff run.
“We know we can play football, we showed that last year,” Hampton said. “Now we have to show that we can do that consistently. We might face a top team like a Falkville or a larger school we’re an underdog against like a Sheffield. But that’s when you show what you’ve worked on and you show that we’re here, we’re really jumping that hurdle. You always prepare to beat those teams you’re supposed to beat so that you can beat the teams that you weren’t supposed to beat.”
Senior linebacker/running back Todd Perkins, who led the team in the conditioning drills, knows what his coach is instilling in them is necessary for them to achieve goals of winning a championship.
“He wants the best for us,” Perkins said. “He knows we can go out there and get it, it’s up to us to do what’s best for the team.”
R.A. Hubbard opens their season earlier than anyone on Thursday, August 22 at Cherokee.