(Spring Branch, TX) — The 2016 high school football season is fast approaching for Smithson Valley. There are just two Fridays left (one if you count the Rangers’ August 19th scrimmage against O’Connor) until Smithson Valley takes the field against an opponent and the preparations for that moment are well underway.
Smithson Valley opened training camp earlier this week, holding the first of 12 camp practices on Monday. This marks the 24th training camp for longtime Head Coach Larry Hill who, despite only seeing a couple of practices so far, has been impressed with his team’s retention from the Spring.
“We also hope we’re simply resuming practice after spring training ends, not necessarily beginning a new year and so far that’s been good. We’ve picked up where we left off,” Hill said. “We’ve still got some [work] to do later in the week and certainly when we go up against opponents but our retention has been good.”
As is the case with high school football every year, there are several holes to fill from last year’s region finalist team. Smithson Valley lost 41 seniors from the 2015 roster including 16 starters. Although the number of players lost is greater than the number of players returning, the Rangers do have key players back at notable positions including quarterback and offensive line.
“Obviously [Josh] Adkins entering his third year under center, Josh Dillon at receiver played quite a bit year ago, three guys back on the offensive line…we have a little more experience there but the guys going around them is still TBA,” Hill said. “In most cases you’ll see some rotations, guys moving in and out of the lineup, even throughout the first several games in an effort to assess who needs to be playing more than others.”
The Rangers have not only one of the top returning quarterbacks in the district in Josh Adkins, but also one of the top returning signal callers in the greater San Antonio area. Adkins, who recently pledged a verbal commitment to play college football at New Mexico State, is preparing for his 3rd season as Smithson Valley’s starting quarterback, experience Coach Hill notes is a luxury that most teams don’t have.
“I don’t think you can put a price on [experience].” Hill said. “So much revolves around that position; the tempo of the offense, the chemistry in the huddle and the locker room is always a big key with how your team is going to do. You look back at our history through the years, times we brought back a returning starter, we’ve had some very successful [seasons]. You hope that continues and certainly it has a chance to.”
Smithson Valley’s players will be in helmets and shorts again tomorrow and Thursday and will wear pads for the first time at training camp on Friday. The team’s media day and photo day is scheduled for this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. The Rangers host O’Connor in a scrimmage on August 19th at 9 a.m. (varsity) at Ranger Stadium and play their season opener the following Friday on August 26th at home against Pflugervile Hendrickson.