Elkmont getting stronger in offseason

Elkmont football coach Duane Wales yells instruction on the sidelines in a 2017 game. Wales expects the Red Devils to be a much stronger team this year.

This is the sixth in a series of stories highlighting each local football program’s preparation for the upcoming season. While fall practice won’t start for another more weeks, each team has been preparing for the season in the weight room and on the conditioning field.

As Duane Wales enters his third season as head coach of the Elkmont football team, he has one huge goal — see the team get stronger and faster.

Much of the offseason has been about conditioning and weightlifting, and Wales is happy with the results.

“The kids really worked out hard during June and July,” Wales said. “We’ve seen a big increase in strength. You can tell just by looking at the kids they’re getting stronger and getting their bodies in shape. I’ve been real pleased with the summer.”

But it wasn’t just during the summer where the players added to their strength. Wales said the entire offseason was devoted to getting stronger or else the team would be behind once the games start.

“Football is pretty much 365 days a year now,” Wales said. “You can’t wait until fall camp starts and start thinking about conditioning and getting in shape. We have in-season and off-season weightlifting programs and a summer lifting program. We want to try to lift all year to increase our strength.”

Elkmont has struggled the past two seasons, winning a total of two games on the field and three games total after picking up a forfeit victory over Deshler last season.

But Wales sees the building blocks of the program being put in place.

“We had a real good spring practice where we worked on a lot of solid fundamentals,” he said. “We’re still just trying to build this program, and get some good football knowledge accomplished. I feel like did some of that during the spring.”

Wales said the Red Devils also took advantage of their competition days, when they could compete in 7-on-7 games.

“We’ve got to continue the (offensive and defensive) learning process from the spring in our summer competition days,” he said. “You’ve got to have a lot of that stuff installed when fall camp starts (Aug. 5). Our first game is Aug. 23, so we basically only have two-and-a-half weeks of practice before we play. If we wait until then, we’re definitely behind the eight ball.”