Passing camps very important during summer workouts
WEST POINT – Throwing the football will be part of the game plan in the upcoming season for the West Point Warriors, Cold Springs Eagles and Vinemont Eagles.
But all three local teams will likely keep the passing game to a minimum. All three excel in running the ball, even from the shotgun formation.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association allows prep football teams four dates in the summer in taking part of an event that is now known as “7 on 7.” The passing camps gives teams a chance to work on throwing the football and defending against the pass.
On a cloudy Thursday afternoon at West Point Stadium, the three teams took to the field for two and a half hours of throwing it, catching it and defending it.
The varsity teams played on the west side of the stadium while junior varsity games were played on 40 yards of the stadium facing the east.
Winning was not the important factor here. What served the purpose for West Point coach Don Farley, Cold Springs coach Rod Elliott and Vinemont coach Alan Scott was to operate in the spread, throwing the ball on short routes and at times, going for the deep toss.
The games were 20 minutes long with a running clock. A team had to gain a first down in three plays, starting from the 40, then advancing it inside the 25 and on to the 10-yard line.
Points were given if a team intercepted at any time, except on conversions. A single point was a throw from the 3-yard line with a two-point try coming from the five.
Each school played each other twice. From the first segment of the varsity games, West Point edged Cold Springs and Vinemont by a 9-6 margin.
Cold Springs got past Vinemont 14-12.
Then in the second rotation, West Point took down Cold Springs 17-7 and defeated Vinemont 19-11.
Vinemont was able to end the activities by 6:30 p.m., holding off Cold Springs 12-7.
“The passing camp has allowed us to get in a lot of reps,” Farley said. “It gives our quarterbacks a chance to work on their throws and timing. We also find out who can compete as receivers and also as defenders.”
West Point has an advantage in comparison to Cold Springs and Vinemont. Bryant Farley is about to start his fourth season for the Warriors. This will be his second with his dad as the head coach.
For Cold Springs and Vinemont, they will go into 2014 with sophomore signal-callers. Cayde Elliott takes over the controls for Cold Springs who is coming off a 6-4 record, its first winning season in 10 years.
Garrett Boland will handle the duties for Vinemont. Both quarterbacks happen to be left-handed passers.
“These type of camps allow us to work, especially on defense,” Elliott replied. We do a good job throwing the football, considering we don’t pass it that much.”
Cold Springs was in a 7 on 7 session earlier in the week at Fairview, facing the Aggies along with Albertville, Susan Moore and Pisgah.
Elliott thought his team threw the ball well that day and at times Thursday, executed from short passes to going for the long one.
Elliott is the coaches’ son and has gotten the passing game down path very well during July.
The key for Cayde Elliott is to have timing and accuracy ready when Cold Springs begins the season Aug. 22 at Cranford Stricklin Stadium against Brilliant.
After Cold Springs took a 7-0 lead in its last game with Vinemont, Vinemont answered on a 10-yard TD toss by Boland to John Michael Dye. Then two interceptions stopped Cold Springs’ drives and gave Vinemont a 12-7 victory.
Two days before, Vinemont was involved in 7 on 7 with the Good Hope Raiders and Corner Yellow Jackets. They have a passing date set on July 29 at Fyffe in Dekalb County.
“This is real good for Garrett to see how quick defenses react,” Scott said. “We have to do the little things we talk about to be successful in throwing the football. We feel like we can hang our hat on some good things from this week.”
Farley had a 40-yard strike down the left sideline to Will Wrenn for a score in game two with Cold Springs that allowed the Warriors to come from a 7-6 deficit.
Farley’s main target all afternoon was 6’5” tight end Ryder Jones. He caught three scoring passes from Farley, each a 10-yard connection.
Jake Haynes had three scoring receptions for Cold Springs, the third covering 40 yards in the final battle with Vinemont.
Dye was a solid target for Vinemont out of the backfield. He hauled in three TD catches from his sophomore signal caller.
Passing camps can’t go on next week due to the AHSAA All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery. But prep teams will be allowed to go into the weight room and get in some serious conditioning.
The start of fall practice for teams in the AHSAA will be August 4. West Point and Vinemont will play jamboree games August 21. The Warriors are at Curry and the Eagles host Good Hope.
Cold Springs gets the season off with a game the following night on the home turf against the Brilliant Tigers.