Bulldogs endure heat, hours of training at football camp

Ramona Bulldogs work on special teams during football camp.  Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino
Ramona Bulldogs work on special teams during football camp. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino

By Bill Tamburrino

The first week of football training camp always seems to be the hottest days of the summer, but that is not why they call it hell week.

Coach Damon Baldwin always refers to two-a-days as training camp but those twice-a-day practices are universally known as hell week at every school that fields a football team in the nation.

The CIF allows a team 28 practices before their first game.

“We will have between 24 or 25 practices. Our goal is to practice smart and get the players to the games healthy and in football shape. We want to create mental toughness and stay healthy. We only have six two-a-days and we only have back to back two-a-days once,” explained Baldwin.

The coach has arranged the practice schedules so that the student/athletes can attend all registrations and parking meetings planned by the school. To do so, he had to schedule a 6 a.m. practice on Aug.  16.

Baldwin had high praise for the Bulldog Angels, the hydration crew that keeps the athletes hydrated to combat heat-related injuries. It takes angels to beat the heat in hell week.

The varsity has 43 players out and the junior varsity has 48 players. The two teams practice together. Last season the freshmen and the varsity practiced alone. There are 52 athletes going out for the frosh team.

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Coach Baldwin gives instruction to players during a special teams session at Ramona High’s football camp. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino

When the athletes showed up for their first practice they noticed that the locker rooms and weight facility had been painted. The Ramona Unified School District supplied the paint and Bob Verhoest painted the locker room. The football staff painted the weight facility, which is used by all sports, and the physical education classes at Ramona High. Funding for the painting and the name plates for the lockers came from the team’s lift-a-thon, held earlier this year.

The varsity and junior varsity will have their first public showing on Family Night, Saturday, Aug. 18. The junior varsity will have an inter-squad scrimmage at 4 p.m. and the varsity will go at it at 6:30. The frosh will head out at 9 a.m. at the Dawg House. Admission is free. Season tickets can be purchased at Family Night and concessions will be available.

   
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