The Young Army of Patriot Football
The Adams Central Patriots are back in action, looking to bounce back from their 3–6 record in 2016. The team had 20 players miss at least one game last season, now those underclassmen who had to step up are now starting.
Head coach Shawn Mulligan enters his fourth season leading the Patriots.
The team spent the first half of practice conditioning through drills, then putting the big guys upfront to work through different run plays testing the speed on Gabe Conant, and putting the arms to work on their new quarterback.
Though still considered a young team, the Patriots have the underclassmen to start ready to step up this year, seeing a lot progress in the off–season.
"A lot of the focus has been on being in the weight room being as strong as possible," Mulligan said. Being in the best shape that you can coming into this season, and hopefully this season turns out a lot better than it did last year."
"Jack and Caleb are our two senior receivers that will definitely lead our way for them," Mulligan continued. "Very athletic individuals and I expect big things from both of them."
Caleb Ackles snagged 25 receptions for 291 yards in 2016. Senior Jack Keller also coming in with starting experience, believes his team is on the right track thanks to summer conditioning.
"We start with our conditioning because you always have to be in shape if you want to play football," Keller said. "Then as the season progresses we work more at skill position and just getting better at our routes."
"I think we're doing well making a lot of steps every day to get better," Keller stated. "Whether it be running routes just to get our timing right or just lifting weights."
Commanding the snaps under center for the team is Evan Johnson.
The rising sophomore took over last season playing for seven games throwing over 1500 yards and 11 touchdowns before dealing with a season ending injury.
Now the six foot all district quarterback is back in action working with his key receivers during the off–season and back in the weight room, coming into practice much more confident ready to take over.
"I kind of know what situation I'm in and what I need to prepare for," Johnson said. "My mind set is a little different going into this year more of a leadership role and I'm embracing that."
"I know the offense very well so we know what we need to do," Johnson stated. "I've been lifting everyday Monday through Thursday and just working with our receivers," Johnson continued. "Getting our timing down and I've gone to camps and improved individually there."
The Patriots kick-off their season Aug. 25th against the Kearney Catholic Stars.