The rising morning temperature and intense sunlight may have said summer, but the kids who frequently had their heads in garbage cans on Wayne Jamison Field certainly backed what Bridgeport High School football coach Josh Nicewarner said this morning.
“Summer is over,” Nicewarner said to his gathered group following the first session this morning.
It’s almost certainly over for the 41 young men that showed up for the first day of practice today. The first of what will likely be several two-a-
day practices got underway at 9 a.m. and will continue at 6:30 p.m. today.
“We’ll have some kids that will come out late, but we’ll also lose some, too. It generally balances itself out,” Nicewarner said.
Included in the mix were a few surprises. One of those surprises is desperately needed, and the others surprise weren’t as much as a surprise, but remains an unknown.
The big surprise for the Indians came in the form of the presence of junior Sam Hadjis. Hadjis, who also competes on the Indians’ soccer team, provides the Indians with a much-needed kicker. BHS will attempt to fill the massive void left by the graduation of two-time Class AAA All State first team kicker and Division I signee Connor Kornbrath.
“He’s going to have an opportunity to perform. I don’t know a lot about him, but I know he’s a good kid that works hard,” Nicewarner said. “He wrestles and I think he runs track. We’re going to get him kicking, see how things go and take it from there.”
The first day for BHS almost always produces an upperclassman or two going out for their first season of football that will eventually assist with depth. This year, Tanner Henderson came out for the squad. Another surprise is the arrival of Josh Boggio, a senior transfer from Pennsylvania. Boggio saw starting time under center last year for Derry High School, a Class AAA school out of Western, Pa.
“It’s early, but generally speaking the kids that come out late realize they have to work that much harder if they want to be successful. When the younger kids see the upperclassmen working that hard to get their chance, they work harder because they know that’s what it takes to get your chance,” Nicewarner said. “I think both of those guys can contribute if they continue to work hard.”
While the numbers were roughly where Nicewarner expected them to be, so too were the condition of the players during day one of practice. Many of those that took part in the three-week
June practice session and those that opted to participate in offseason conditioning weathered the storm this morning. Those that didn’t found themselves with their heads buried in the aforementioned trash cans.
“You can tell the ones who wanted to go out and enjoy their summer and you can tell the ones that have been down here working,” Nicewarner said. “It’s easy to weed out the two different types, but we’ll get them all where they need to be.”
Editor's Note: Cover photo shows Coach Josh Nicewarner directing his players following the first of two Monday practices. Inside photo, top, shows linemen getting their footwork down, while bottom photo shows Nicewarner talking to his new kicker Sam Hadjis.