The GHS varsity and freshman football teams attended their first group meeting for the ’08-’09 season Monday afternoon in the commons area of the high school.
Ridgerunner Head Coach Dennis Millican, along with his staff, addressed approximately 80 athletes, and a smattering of parents, at a gathering designed to set the groundwork for the upcoming campaign.
“We laid the foundations and the guidelines and the framework for where we are headed,” Coach Millican said. “We talked a little bit about the past, but mainly we talked about where we’re headed and what the expectations are. We discussed behavioral guidelines, and what we need from them paperwork wise.
“It’s a day of preparation,” he added.
With the meeting called to order and the standard greetings out of the way, Coach Millican and his staff got down to the business of his address. Parts of the conference were grounded in the traditional themes of football squads since before the first snap: team rules, and expectations being at the core. Other parts of the meeting reflected the times of today as many forms and other miscellaneous legal paperwork was distributed. Some of that work entailed the coaches and players exchanging emergency contact numbers, ensuring that all players had a completed medical physical and the documentation to go with it, an emergency release form, a sportsmanship form, an insurance form, and special paperwork for new transfer students.
“It’s not one of my favorite days of the year,” Millican said about the paperwork, “but it’s something you have to do and everybody has to do it.”
Coach Millican addressed his charges about what was expected of them as members of the Ridgerunner team. A list of priorities was laid out for the youths that detailed the ideals that would help them find success, and fun, during their tenure in the red and white. The coach told the players that there were things in the world that were bigger than them and he stressed the importance of family. He also reminded the players that more dollars are given for academic scholarships than for athletic scholarships.
The players were informed of the team belief system at the meeting. Traits such as hard work, discipline, vision, loyalty, and character were explained to them in the context of how it related to the football team.
Academic requirements for eligibility were also addressed and special mention was given to new OSSAA rules regarding equipment such as mouthpieces, gloves, and knee pads. Essentially the new rules dictate that there will be no alteration of any kind on those accessories.
With the meeting concluded the players made their way to the field house where they were issued their equipment for the new season.
About an hour after the ninth grade and varsity meeting adjourned the GMS gymnasium was the setting for the seventh and eighth grade pre-season football meeting.
As was the case with their older counterparts, head coaches Warren Brumley, for the eighth grade, and Sean Botts, for the seventh graders, went over team rules and made sure that all of the proper paperwork for the players was completed. At the end of the meeting the athletes were issued their equipment for the season.
The Varsity and ninth grade teams opened shorts and helmets practice on Tuesday afternoon while the GMS troops begin their first session on Thursday morning.