Story and photography by Connor Starowesky ’20
Two-a-day football practices are a work of art. White helmet -clad young men work on techniques that, when paired with their other teammates, will propel themselves and their school to one common goal: beating Rocky River.
It seems like mass chaos but it truly is masterful. The players spend more than half their practice at stations that are based on their individual jobs when it comes to winning games. There they learn how to correctly tackle, how to work blocking schemes, how to run a cover three defense, and how to run the ball. Every group works on a separate skill until the whistle blows and everyone converges.
Cursing the heat and spitting, the players snap up and prepare for team practice, where they learn to put their skills to work. Sweat trickles down their faces as they wait for the ball to be snapped, and it becomes very quiet. Logan LeMere calls out the cadence and just like that, the silence turns into thunderous cracks of helmet and shoulder pad pops and the grunts of the men in the trenches. The individual drilling shines as Max Showalter runs a perfect corner route and AJ Cruiser throws a block that rivals Joe Thomas. Alone, the drills may seem pointless or just odd, but here, compiled with everyone else, teamwork shines through and progress is made.
Those Bay Villagers who attended Community Night at Bay Memorial Stadium saw the results of drills becoming plays on August 4th. Twenty days before their first game against Keystone Wildcats, the Rockets invited their community into their world of high school football.
Interview with Varsity Football’s Head Coach, Ron Rutt.
Connor Starowesky: What is Community Night?
Coach Rutt: Community Night is a chance for the Bay Village community to come out to see the football team practice and have fun with family activities afterwards.
CS: What does it mean to the program that all these people came out to support the team?
CR: It’s special. The community supports us all year, and tonight the football team gets to provide a fun evening of games and activities for kids and affordable food for everyone to enjoy. It is really exciting for us.
CS: How do you feel going into your 5th season as head coach at Bay?
CR: Excited. This year we have a lot of new blood, a new group of guys and a lot of new talent. Last year we had a special class of senior players, but now is our chance to rebuild and reload.
CS: How do you think the team looks going into the 2018 season?
CR: I definitely see lots of potential. We still have a few things to clean up during practices, but I see flashes of good things. We need to be consistent across the board to be a good program.
CS: First home game of the year is on August 31st, against University School, at 7pm; what would you like to say to the student body and community?
CR: We are very appreciative of the support Bay gives, it’ll be a very special night on the brand new field. The fans give us a great energy that really elevates our level of play.
CS: Can I get your overall thoughts on how today went?
CR: We had a very good week of practices. A great practice today in the summer heat, it added an extra element that prepares us for games. Community night went great, it was great to see the kids having fun on the field.