NORTH CLARENDON – As the spring weather gives way to summer, the Mill River football team is in its own transition.
The Minutemen were on the high school field Tuesday for one of their six spring workouts, getting to work early for the upcoming 2022 season in the fall.
New Mill River coach Phil Hall puts the first paint on his vision for the next generation of Minutemen football.
Hall got to work making his mark on the program when he took over a few months ago and the excitement was palpable around the team early on.
Hall said the team currently has around 35 players.
“Having so many guys in practices is awesome. Spring Ball, we have about 25 here,” Hall said. “That’s half the battle, just getting the guys here. been quite engaged, so it’s been quite fun.
Normally, spring training is the stepping stone to summer training which quickly gives way to pre-season camp in mid-August. That’s true for Mill River, but the need to get used to a new coaching staff adds another wrinkle to the formula.
The state gives each football team six one-and-a-half-hour spring training sessions.
“That’s it in this first year,” Hall said. “It introduces a new attack and a new defense. We are trying to install games.
“But the spring ball is also about a lot of bases. We teach positions and fundamentals of the game. It’s really about trying to touch them to find out how we signal formations and call plays. It is to share the language.
Hall wants to keep his practices fast to keep players engaged and ensure they don’t lose interest.
“It’s about keeping it exciting and having a twist with as many things as possible,” Hall said.
Mill River is coming off a 3-6 season, where the Minutemen gave rival Otter Valley a tough game in the Division III quarterfinals.
Mill River is losing a handful of impact seniors, including multiple All-State player Connor Lopiccolo, but there’s plenty of talent left in the closet.
Hall noted that this upcoming season’s roster might be younger, but it has a lot of potential. Mill River will be very junior and sophomore heavy when he enters the field in the fall.
“We’re going to have sophomores contributing to the university,” Hall said. “We’re going to have a few seniors who are very good football players and will be a big part of that, but the biggest numbers are the junior and second year classes, which is a good place to be.”
Mill River opens on the road Sept. 3 at Oxbow, before hosting rival Otter Valley for a quarter-final rematch in Week 2.
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