Frosh-soph football adds strength training to dominate league

By Arthur Register

Originally published on October 23, 2014

Sophomore wing back Michael Gomez throws a long pass during practice on Sept. 17. Photo by Karina Huft.

Kicking off the season with rigorous muscle-strengthening exercises, the JV football team is preparing for one of its most challenging seasons.

This year, head coach Jabes Rivera plans to focus on discipline. He stresses football fundamentals, like tackling, blocking and footwork. “You can execute better when you know the fundamentals,” Rivera said. “If you don’t, then the players will be guessing what they should be doing, as opposed to already knowing what they have to do.”

“Last year, we thought we were just going to try our hardest and have fun. This year is all out. We are going to win.”

Strengthening fundamentals will play a key role in tackling the team’s biggest weakness, which is inexperience. The Cardinals do not have their ideal number of players, and have even fewer veterans. According to sophomore wing back Michael Gomez, what the team lacks in experience, they make up for with their positive attitude towards their games. “We definitely have more heart this season,” Gomez said. “We want to win now. Last year, we thought we were just going to try our hardest and have fun. This year is all out. We are going to win.”

Before, the team only weight-trained during the off-season. But now, they practice in the weight room as part of the regular season. This makes them stronger, so they have greater endurance. “Weight training is also about mental strength,” Rivera said. “If one of the players is lifting something he’s not used to, it requires him to push his body a lot harder than he regularly would have to if he wants to improve.”

When people weight lift, they try to exceed their limits, following a saying for weight lifters: “Aim to fail.” This high-risk, high-reward strategy strengthens their muscles more than lifting something within their capabilities, according to Rivera.

Freshman offensive lineman Matthew Lee runs through drills during practice. Photo by Karina Huft.

Although the Cardinals are emphasizing their mental and physical strength in their exercises this year, the team’s greatest strengths lie in a select group of players who go out of their way to push their team to do the best they can, according to Rivera. “While we do conditioning, some players start running slower or relax, and the leaders of the group tell them to hurry up and run faster,” Rivera said. “Also when a guy is feeling down on himself because he had a bad play, I’ve seen the leaders of the team pick him up, and tell him to worry about the next play.”

Come cheer for the Cardinals at their upcoming game against the Washington Eagles at 11 a.m. on Nov. 1 at Washington.