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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rolla High football stays busy in summer

  • The thermometer may be closing in on triple-digits, but the ball has still been flying in the air for the Rolla High School football squad.The Bulldogs are right in the middle of their off-season conditioning program.Part of that program has just concluded, as the team’s 7-on-7 passing leag...
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  • The thermometer may be closing in on triple-digits, but the ball has still been flying in the air for the Rolla High School football squad.
    The Bulldogs are right in the middle of their off-season conditioning program.
    Part of that program has just concluded, as the team’s 7-on-7 passing league and tournament activities finished up with a matchup against Salem Monday at the Rolla Community Track. And last weekend in Springfield RHS competed in the Ozark Conference 7-on-7 Tournament, placing sixth overall with a 2-3 record.
    “We’ve had a very good summer, finishing up in June,” said Willie Howard, entering his second season as RHS head coach. “I’m very pleased with the progress. It’s been a big positive to watch us get better and better every week in 7-on-7.”
    Summer full-contact football will be upcoming for the squad in about three weeks. The RHS Football Camp, for kids entering grades 8-12, will be from July 16-20 and July 23-27 at the Rolla Junior High practice field (sessions for both junior high and high school campers will be from 7:30-10 a.m.).
    Between the two weeks of the RHS Camp will be the Salem Full-Contact Camp July 20 at the Salem High School Field. For the second consecutive year Rolla will be competing in the full-contact camp along with Blair Oaks, West Plains and host Salem.
    Howard is pleased with the attendance and effort during off-season activities so far.
    “We’ve had as many as 80 and have held an average of about 60 per day,” Howard said. “I’m very pleased with the attendance and the participation.”
    The Bulldogs have been doing agility work and lifting weights four days a week.
    Missouri prep football teams get 25 days in the summer to do football-related activities. So far the Bulldogs have used six of those days in the 7-on-7 passing leagues and tournament.
    The Bulldogs are coming off a 2-8 2011. This year Rolla has two classes who were highly-successful as freshmen (the senior and sophomore classes) coming together sandwiched between a junior class that will provide the team with a bulk of its linemen for this coming fall.
    Last season the Rolla freshman class went undefeated and was a high-scoring squad. Several of those players will be counted on as sophomores this fall.
    “It’s going to be a nice mix,” Howard said. “Our junior class has got a lot of our big guys and the senior and sophomore classes have got more of our skill people. I really makes for an interesting mix.”
    The past several seasons Rolla has been a run-first type of offense, which somewhat skews its performances in a 7-on-7 passing format.
    Big losses to graduation on offense is two-way threat Dalton Brown at quarterback and big tackle Derek Spurgeon, who is now playing at Missouri S&T.
    Page 2 of 2 - Senior Michael Steelman figures to get the first crack at quarterback. He was a fullback hobbled by an ankle injury last year but has played quarterback at the junior high and junior varsity level, as well as serving as the Bulldog QB starter when Brown went down with a broken hand the last three games of 2011. In addition, senior Brandon Gunby will also get a long look at the position.
    A full stable of running backs return in seniors Michael Pickrell, Tyler McRae, Darien Abston and Tanner Cardin as well as Andy Satulla, who was called up last year as a freshman for the last couple of varsity games after putting up monster rushing and scoring numbers for the Bullpup freshman squad.
    And helping Steelman or Gunby will be a group of receivers with some size and/or leaping ability.
    Alex McCormack, a 6-3 senior, returns at wideout as does 6-2 junior tight end Jacob Banholzer, who Howard said recently weighed in at 247 pounds. In addition sophomore Caleb Copeland, a lankly 6-3 jumper, is added to the wideout mix as is a smaller but quick Joe Drallmeier, a junior who is being converted from quarterback.
    BULLDOG NOTES: The Bulldogs’ first official practice for the fall season will be Monday, Aug. 6.
    RHS has scheduled its Gatorade Scrimmage for Monday, Aug. 13, and for the first time Rolla will compete in the St. Clair Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 17. Rolla, St. Clair, Jefferson City Helias and Columbia Rock Bridge are slated to participate in the Jamboree.
    The previous two years Rolla played in the Sullivan Jamboree.
    The Bulldogs will open their schedule Aug. 24, hosting Ozark Conference foe Lebanon.
     
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