Practice drills for the 2013 high school football season move into high gear over the next week when Brusly and Port Allen head to Lumberton, Miss. for the annual ‘boot camp’.
The sessions at Kings Arrow Ranch — which run around the clock — mark the official start of the high school football season. Brusly was set to leave Thursday and return Sunday, while Port Allen leaves Monday for the Magnolia State.
This year’s trip marks the second annual trek for Brusly, while Port Allen heads to this tiny community near Hattiesburg for the ninth consecutive year.
Even for the more experienced players, the camp serves as a rude awakening.
“Some of them come into this and look around with an expression like ‘What the hell’s going on here?’,” Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard said. “It’s a wakeup call, a shock to some of them, something which you have to get through and survive.
“Even as juniors or seniors, you come in thinking you have an idea of what to expect, but there’s always something you haven't seen yet,” Blanchard said. “That’s what makes this so unique.”
It’s a red mark on the calendar not only for players, but for coaches, said Brusly coach Erik Willis.
Willis has worked several camps during his days at Redemptorist, but never in an isolated area like Lumberton until last year.
“It’s a challenge for everyone, including the coaches,” he said. “It’s particularly tough for our new players, but everyone usually looks forward to it. Hopefully it will be a great experience for all of us.”
Port Allen will cross paths with two teams it faced in spring scrimmages — Plaquemine and Livonia. The teams will lock up in 7-on-7 drills during the camp.
“It takes some of the monotony out of the camp,” Blanchard said.
Brusly, meanwhile, will tangle with Class 1A powerhouse West St. John while at camp.
The Rams are no stranger to Willis, who coached against them when he was at St. John, as well as Riverside Academy.