CENTERBURG — For many area high school football teams, the season really gets under way with the sweat and toil known as summer training camp.
In Centerburg, however, the 2009 season began as head coach Ken Kish was leading his team off the field following the finale of a forgettable 2008 season. Nine months into their “new season” the transformed Trojans will march into their opening game bigger, stronger and faster.
Kish insists that’s only the beginning.
“We made a book for all of our kids with a list of what we wanted them to do,” said Kish. “We started on November (2008) and we went through July 24th and we put it out in a day-by-day format for them. They were able to write down what their lifts were in it.”
Kish challenged his boys throughout the year.
“We had four different days where we tested them in January, March, May and July,” said Kish. “We tested their progress in things like dead lift, bench press broad jump, vertical jump, 40-yard dash and so forth. Each one of them showed great improvement as we went through it.”
Kish even took the team to Danville and Fredericktown for their weightlifting fundraisers.
“Dustin Irvin, our offensive guard and defensive tackle, set the bench press record at Danville and at Fredericktown,” said Kish. “All eight young men we took to Fredericktown did very, very well in their weight class.”
Alex Park, who will be a captain for the Trojans this year, benched 235 this week. If that is any example, nobody will be pushing the Trojans around in 2009.
This year, Kish brought the whole team to the training camp at Otterbein and got a peek at what may be things to come.
“Last year, we left our linemen at home and, in retrospect, I thought that was a mistake,” said Kish. “This year, we had different lineman challenges that they could do. We were able to work on individual stuff on a daily basis. We were able to go against Columbus South. We had a seven-on-seven with them and with Westerville North. We did very well in that. Our quarterback was 29-of-41 for six touchdowns in that.”
It looks like the Trojans are back and the Mid-Buckeye Conference will be even tougher this season.
“We’re very, very pleased with the way our off-season has gone,” said Kish. “We’re excited. We got a core group of 25 and those kids were there all the time. When basketball ended, we picked up a few more. We lost a couple when baseball started and so forth, but the ones that were there from November through the end of July have just showed remarkable progress.”