Pack hits practice field

Published 8:11 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Washington coach Sport Sawyer (below) and the Pam Pack football team held its first official practice of the 2013 season on Thursday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The Pam Pack football team held its first official practice of the 2013 season on Thursday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

After a summer’s worth of workouts the Pam Pack football team hit the practice field for real, as Thursday marked the start of official team practices.
The momentum from Washington’s stellar 2012 season, in which it went 10-4 and reached the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 1956, carried over as the Pam Pack’s first practice featured nearly 90 athletes.
Pam Pack coach Sport Sawyer attributed the strong turnout to its success last season as well as the continued growth of the area’s youth leagues.
“We had about 47 varsity players and about 40 JV players so we’re looking at about 85-87 players. That’s quite high for this time of year,” Sawyer said. “I think some of it is due to our success last year and I think it’s also due to our youth programs, which have been strong the last few years.”
The Pam Pack also had a solid turnout during its summer sessions, which has given Sawyer a head start on evaluating talent, and the players a leg up on learning the offense and defense.
“(The summer workouts) have helped us get to know the strengths and the weaknesses of some of our players so today we can get right into practice,” Sawyer said. “Had we not had the players here we would be starting from scratch.”
After a summer’s worth of hard work the Pam Pack took its foot off the gas toward the end of July and Sawyer said his immediate goal is to get them back into shape before the pads come out for the first time next Wednesday.
“They’ve had some time off in July because the state mandates that and we gave them some time off last week so we’re looking to get back in shape,” Sawyer said. “Physically, we want them to get back into shape and mentally we want them focused. What we’re going to try and do the next few days is get them back and ready to go.”
Of the 40-or-so varsity athletes that came out on Thursday approximately 25 of them are returning players, which should help speed up the learning curve for the younger athletes.
“There’s around 25 guys who are returning and they should be leaders,” Sawyer said. “This will be my 10th season here and we are trying to get this program established. As coaches, we try to guide and direct and come up with the Xs and Os, but really it comes down to the players on the field. They have to perform. We want these players to take ownership of the program and lead us.”
Fans can catch an early look at the Pam Pack next Thursday as Washington will hold a meet and greet session that will feature the players and cheerleaders at 6 p.m. inside the cafeteria. The meet and greet will be followed by an intersquad scrimmage that is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Admission the game will be a multipack of water or Gatorade.