Northside preparing for season|Panthers holding minicamp this week

Published 9:55 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sports Editor

YEATESVILLE — As the sun began to set at Northside High School, the Panthers concluded their evening minicamp with a series of sprints.
Head coach Keith Boyd wanted to make sure the players listened to the cadence as they sprinted in 10-year intervals. If even one player jumped before the count, the whole group had to do a series of push-ups.
That happened a couple times, but not a single player complained. They were in it together, and that’s what Boyd enjoyed seeing.
“This is a team-building thing,” Boyd said about the team’s minicamp, which concludes with today’s session that goes from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
“We’re hoping to see a lot of positive interaction with our talking to each other. We want to encourage when somebody jumps offside when they’re tired and pat them on the back. We’re trying to build team spirit and, so far throughout the summer, we’re seeing a whole lot of that. That’s good.”
After Tuesday’s first day of minicamp, Boyd was pleased with what he saw.
“So far, so good,” Boyd said. “We’d like to see more numbers, like anybody would, but having 33 out for a rural school is good. Supposedly, we have to six to eight more coming out. We’re hoping to have about 40 out.”
Of those players who participated in Tuesday’s session, Boyd has been encouraged by their attitude.
“From the freshman to the seniors, they are enthusiastic,” Boyd said. “They act like they want to be here.
“They’re coachable and that’s all we can ask. It doesn’t matter if you’re 95 pounds or 295, as long as you do that, you can be a good player.”
Like each team, Northside lost some quality players and leaders because of graduation. However, Boyd said there are several players stepping up already to fill those roles.
“We have a whole bunch,” Boyd said. “There are as many positives as I’ve ever had. I’m not necessarily saying that they are great and outstanding players, but they’re going to be good players because they want to be here, they’re putting forth 100 percent and they’re encouraging each other.
“There are smiles on peoples’ faces, even if it’s 90 or 95 degrees. A lot of times, we haven’t had that here. Right now we’re seeing nothing but positives, and that’s encouraging. Right now, we like what we see.”
The Panthers will hold their first official organized team practice at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Northside opens the 2009 season Aug. 21 at Mattamuskeet. The Panthers are home the following week against Pamlico.