Sunday, July 20, 2014
Passing leagues and passing league camps help bridge the two-month gap between football spring practice in May and the start of pre-season practice in August.
They also help quarterbacks and receivers get on the same page, build route memory and get in sync.
“They help definitely,” said Berkeley Stags quarterback Joseph Dress. “Back in the spring doing this was kind of hard, but we’ve been working together all summer so it’s gotten a lot easier.”
Dress said he and his receivers have had time since spring practice to learn the routes and to learn more about each other.
“We get on the same page now and we know what each other is doing,” he said. “We know our routes better and we run them better.”
Eight area football teams - the Stags, Timberland, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Bishop England and host Stratford’s varsity and JV football teams met on the practice fields for a three-day passing league camp July 15-17, a final tune-up before the start of pre-season practice on Aug. 1.
“We’ve thrown the ball well all summer,” said Stags Coach Jeff Cruce. “We have an experienced senior quarterback in Joseph Dress and a quality group of receivers that can catch the ball.”
While it is an offense based camp, the defense does get some work in on pass coverage, Cruce said.
The Stags begin their season on Aug. 22 at home against Class AA’s Johnsonville.
For teams like Timberland and Goose Creek that employ a run-oriented offense, the passing camps offer a look at what the passing game might be like.
“We will throw the ball more here today than we will all season,” said Goose Creek Assistant Coach Joe Hauff. “We just don’t throw the football much, or need to for that matter.”
Timberland Coach Art Craig said the passing camp helps get his team in front of competition.
“It’s all about getting ready for the season, the region and the playoffs,” said Craig, whose Wolves open the season on Aug. 29 against Class AAA’s Hanahan. “We have a much better pre-region schedule, a lot tougher than before. The only way we can get ready for Dillon is to play some really good football teams early.”
The Wolves were by far the smallest school competing in the passing camp but it was nice to go nose to nose against the bigger schools like Stratford and Goose Creek.
“We really held our own well and it was nice to line up on the other side of the ball from these guys,” Craig said. “We really benefitted from the competition and our scrimmage against Stratford was like a regular season football game and not a camp scrimmage.”
As for Timberland’s performance in the spring and summer, Craig said the team’s maturity is beginning to show.
“Ryan Hood has looked really well in practice and during the passing leagues. We were able to hire Brandon Cantrell as our quarterback coach and Ryan has really benefitted from his influence during the spring and summer.”
Tight end Wyatt Craig is 100-percent healthy after battling injuries for the better part of two years and has committed to play college football at Newberry.
“Wyatt said he liked the concept of the smaller school and what Newberry had to offer and he decided to get that whole process out of the way early by committing so he could focus on his senior season,” Craig said of his youngest son.
The Wolves and Knights hook up again for two during the first night of the Sertoma Classic.