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Inner competition pushes Grizzlies

For the first time in program history, Golden Valley has a scout team to practice against

Posted: August 24, 2009 10:09 p.m.
Updated: August 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley football head coach Andy Campbell, center, instructs his players at practice Friday at Golden Valley High School.

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To the public, these players may be nameless figures at practice wearing training vests and lining up against the guys who will see most of the snaps this fall.

But to Golden Valley’s starting offense and defense, they are unsung heroes.

Who are they?

They are the scout team, a component that Grizzlies football has not had before.

“We can actually hold two teams now,” said senior lineman and co-captain Dario Park. “Last year we would have an offense day, we’d run against cans because we didn’t have enough people.”

Not so this season.

In fact, because of the program’s increased numbers and growing spirit of competition, the scout team is pushing the starters for the first time, according to members of the first team.

“We could never get a (good) look,” said senior quarterback Jimmy Hughes. “We’d never go game speed in practice.”

First-year head coach Andy Campbell said he had 60 athletes for summer workouts, and the interest continues to pile up.

“I get kids three or four days, ‘Hey, is it too late to join football? Is it too late to join football?’” Campbell said. “Now, we ran out of equipment. We straight up ran out of equipment. We are struggling to get some of our freshman in girdles and helmets. I didn’t see that coming. Is that a bad thing? Heck no. This is a wonderful thing.”

Because of that interest, the first team is being pushed like it has not been pushed in the past.

“There is a lot of competition between players,” said senior tight end/linebacker and co-captain Christopher Mundy. “Players will challenge other players for spots.

“Coaches recognize effort, regardless of the person. If someone steps up and tries to be a playmaker, coaches will automatically recognize that over the starter who starts to quit.”

The coaches see it and give praise to their reserves.

“Our scout squad is outstanding,” Campbell said. “It is great to see. It is great to watch. Sometimes it sucks because the scout offense does beat our (first-team) defense, and vise versa. Sometimes our scout defense will hand it to our (first-team) offense.”

According to Campbell, the scout team even polices itself, micromanaging its own rotation system.

Fresh athletes are only a few repetitions away and they continue to push the starters.

“They push us to get better. When we get better, they get better and then they make us work harder,” Park said.

And work ethic is the key to Campbell’s system during camp.

“I always tell them, ‘We will never give you anything. Always earn everything you get,’” Campbell said.

That philosophy doesn’t just translate to earning a starting spot.

It also means holding onto one.

“They are pretty much why we are like this right now,” Park said.

And “this” might be the most intense and motivated class yet to come through Golden Valley.

The players say so.

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