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Prep football: No longer into the unknown

Trinity ready to start second varsity season

Posted: August 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Trinity junior Patch Kulp, foreground, and sophomore Spencer Klehn participate in special teams drills during a practice on Wednesday at Trinity Classical Academy.

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One year ago, the Trinity varsity football team lined up for preseason practice looking forward to the unknown.
The year ahead would be the first varsity football season in school history, and the eight members of the team who participated at the junior varsity level were coming off an 0-8 season.

One year later, things around preseason camp are different.

For the first time in school history, the Trinity varsity football team has been here before.

Coming off the program’s first season of varsity, in which the Knights won the Omega League and lost in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II 8-man playoffs, their offseason workouts feature a new kind of intensity.

“The intensity level from last year to this year increased ten-fold,” senior Shane Larsen said. “I see every one of these guys has the ‘All-League,’ the league championship in their eyes, and it’s so dominant because we won it last year and we know we can do it again.”

While the team will benefit from the background they’ve gained over the last two season, one thing Trinity will have to adjust to is new head coach Mike Buchanan, who was promoted from assistant coach after former head coach Ben Froemming stepped down.

“I think that having a new coach is a good growing step. Teams will experience growing pains and this is one of them,” Larsen said. “Having a head coach switch is something you’ve got to roll with.”

And now that the Knights have gotten their growing pains out of the way, it’s evident at practice that the team has taken a more specialized focus.

“We know what’s coming (this season), it’s not like last year. We came in totally blind,” said Chris Buchanan, one of three quarterbacks Trinity will feature prominently this season. “We feel like we’re training more to the football league that we’re in, more for football, rather than just getting in physical shape.”

The differences are evident.

A team which two years ago featured just four players who had been in football pads before, and had never had seniors on its roster, now has players who appear to search for contact on both sides of the ball, and has three seniors looking to take on a leadership role.

A Trinity team that relied heavily on the speed of Larsen and the height of fellow senior James Brooks last season, now appears to be opening up the offense and relying on more potential weapons in practice.

“I have seen a different style,” Chris Buchanan said. “The mind game where we’re focusing on reading the defense and choosing the right play for the situation, rather than giving it to a Shane (Larsen) or James (Brooks) and just letting them do whatever they want with it.”

Despite opening up the offense compared with the last two seasons, Mike Buchanan is quick to point out that he doesn’t plan on fixing something that isn’t broken.

“Ben (Froemming) put together a phenomenal offensive package,” Mike Buchanan said. “What I’m going to do is try to specialize it to the strengths of our players.”

And Buchanan credits the experience his team has gained over the past two years with giving him that opportunity.

“Night and day between the previous two years and the first week of two-a-days,” Mike Buchanan said. “Where we were with our football IQ in the past two years and now, that has elevated up to where the boys know what to do, and they know how to react. We’re really excited about it.”

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