With a crowd on hand, the Buccs picked the level of intensity at the Lift-A-Thon.
JULY 9, 2010 - COVINGTON
The nearly fifty Covington High School football players had a chance to showcase the results of their hard work in the weight room in front of a large crowd on Friday. For the first time ever the Buccaneer Lift-A-Thon was held outside for all to see as part of the 175th celebration of Covington.
"I could tell the kids were a little nervous at first, but this was an excellent opportunity for them to show how far they've come," said Covington coach Dave Miller. "And I was proud of how well they performed today."
Trophies were awarded to the top two performers in three different weight classes and to the pound-for-pound and fundraiser champion.
Sophomore Troy Cron claimed the pound-for-pound title, finishing with a 5.8 ranking, while junior Sam Christian finished as the highest fundraiser to go along with an impressive showing in the heavyweight class.
Winning the heavyweight class was senior Josh Boehringer, while junior Darren Clark came in at a close second in what was a very tight competition between the top three competitors - which included Christian.
The winner of the middleweight class was senior Cory Ely and the runner up was freshman Justin Williams, while senior Sam Angle won the lightweight class and Sam Earick took second.
"What's impressive about that group is most are in our Champion's Club," said Miller. "That's reserved for kids who meet a variety of criteria, including what they do in the classroom, their attitudes, effort, commitment and performance. We have thirteen kids in the Champion's Club."
Those who've earned the highest individual status for a Covington football player are seniors Josh Boehringer, Ben Wilson, Jake Bitner, Cory Ely and Jake Stewart, juniors Darren Clark, Sam Christian, Steven Blei and Sam Earick and sophomores Trent Tobias, Alex Bitner, Brian Olson and Troy Cron.
As nice as it is to achieve individual goals, Miller stressed the importance of how it affects the entire team.
"The individual accolades are nice and the kids who won trophies and are in the Champion's Club deserve it," Miller said. "But like I told the kids, it's all about how much we improve and progress as a team that matters. And these kids, from the incoming freshman up to the senior class, have improved dramatically."
Which is evident by the pound-for-pound rankings for this year's group of players. Last season the Buccs had 12 kids rank 4.0 or higher, while this year there were 18 kids reach the 4.0 milestone.
"We had a great group last year and I don't want to take anything away from those guys, especially the seniors," Miller said. "But this is the hardest working group of kids I've had since I''ve been here. Now, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself because the season hasn't started and we have a long way to go, but to this point we are ahead of where we were a year ago."
Which can be attributed to the senior leadership and the willingness of the younger kids to follow a positive example.
"Coming in as freshman four years ago I could see this was a special group of kids," said Miller of the seniors. "Now they are seniors and they want it to happen. You can tell by there commitment in the weight room."
The "IT" Miller is referring too can be left up to interpretation, but it is obvious he likes where his team is mentally and physically midway through the summer.
Of the 49 kids he expects to suit up this fall, all 49 have been in the weight room on a consistent basis.
"The kids have been accountable," he said. "They are diligent about being in the weight room and doing all the things we expect them to do. They've all bought into hard work, maxing out in effort every single day."
Which makes for stiff competition when it comes to determining who will see the field come Friday nights.
"There's a lot of kids, even the freshman and sophomores, that feel they can step in on Friday night and play," Miller said. "They not only believe it, but they are working like they belong, the intensity, the effort, the commitment. The effort of our younger kids is huge because it's making us better across the board."
Even though things are going so well for the Buccs so far, it's still the middle of July and Miller isn't looking too far ahead.
"I'm pleased with the kids and how far they've come, but we still have a long way to go before we play New Bremen in our season opener," he said. "It's easy to think about this and that, but we have to stay focused on one game at a time - beginning with New Bremen. They've beaten us the last two times we've played them, so we can't think about anything but week one."
Which will be here before we know it.