Vikings sailing through training camp|Team looks intense in practice

Published 10:12 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sports Writer

PLYMOUTH — The intensity was high and so was the team spirit at Vikings’ practice Wednesday as the veteran team looks to build on last season’s success.
In 2009, Plymouth was led by trio of junior running backs in Elmer Cooper, Ronnell Blount and Dylan Watts, who helped the Vikings pick up two playoff wins in the NCHSAA 1-A tournament before losing to Wallace-Rose Hill in the third round. The second of those postseason victories was the most inspiring as it came on the road against undefeated Four Rivers Conference champions Manteo. The Vikings finished the season with a 9-5 record, and proved that when on top of their game they can hang with anybody around.
Entering training camp this season, veteran coach Robert Cody is expecting his team can take the next step. “We are hoping that we can use last year as a stepping stone to get better,” Cody said. “We just have to keep them all healthy, that’s the key. If we stay healthy we can be competitive.” Plymouth opened up camp on Aug. 2 and Cody has been drilling his team on the fundamentals “We have had them on the blocking sled, and we have a new equipment that will help the linemen stay low,” Cody said. “We have spent a lot of time working on tackling along with the sled. We have just been trying to make sure everybody knows the fundamentals and the right techniques.”
Cody said so far his team has performed well at training camp. The Vikings’ coach credited his players for checking into camp in good condition.
“I think they all came in, in pretty good shape, and that’s a big thing,” Cody said. “We have had the weight room open on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and coach Marvin Davenport had an open gym on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s so a lot of kids were playing basketball. They stayed in pretty good shape.
“The biggest key is that they are all in pretty good physical condition. We are also brining a lot of kids back, so they are helping the players that weren’t around last season.”
The Vikings brought in roughly 60 or so athletes to camp and return a majority of their starters on both sides of the ball.
“We are bringing nine back on offense and nine back on defense,” Cody said. “It’s great to have that many come back for another season.”
Another key returnee is defensive coordinator Terry Perry, who has been coaching at Plymouth for 13 years and was recently selected to be one of the coaches in the 2011 East-West all-star game.
“A gentleman (Phil Weaver) called me to tell me I was selected and I was really surprised,” Perry said. “I was really honored. There are a lot of great football coaches in the state of North Carolina, and to be offered an opportunity to coach the East all-stars is great.”
Perry said this year’s defensive unity should be much improved.
“I think we are looking a lot better,” Perry said. “We’re not relying too much on playing kids on both sides of the ball so that is going to help a whole lot.”