Pads popped, whistles blew and cleats kicked up crumb rubber from the sun-baked field turf.
High school football is back, running at full throttle.
The first full week of summer football camp began under the sun Monday at Auburn’s three high schools. Practice officially began Aug. 21, and since then, the programs have picked up the pace with full-gear workouts. Water stations stood ready. Water bottles circulated, frequently hydrating the players.
The regular season kicks off Sept. 6, with Auburn Riverside facing Auburn Mountainview at 7 p.m. at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Auburn opens at Tahoma.
Auburn Riverside – some 80 strong – went through an up-tempo practice Tuesday under the watch of second-year head coach Marcus Yzaguirre. The Ravens are looking to bounce back from a 3-7, injury-riddled season. AR is a strong contender to capture the North Puget Sound League Valley Division title this fall.
Yzaguirre expects big things from one of his deeper, more explosive teams.
“I hope we’ll be in the mix of things,” he said between drills in the heat. “Last year we were overly confident, but we had some injuries – and that hurt us.
“We have some talent this year,” Yzaguirre added. “I’m excited for what’s to come.”
At Auburn Mountainview, coach Jared Gervais welcomed 67 players, led by a strong group of seasoned seniors who persevered as juniors through a 3-7 season that included a share of the NPSL Valley title.
“It was a great experience,” Gervais said, “and we’re building on it.”
At Auburn, second-year head coach Aaron Chantler and his staff were working with about 60 players this week. The Trojans, like their rivals, intend to improve this fall. The Trojans finished 2-8 last season.
“We’re definitely young,” Chantler said of his group that’s heavy with sophomores. “Hopefully, they’ll learn quickly. Down the road we think they can be pretty good. It’s about how fast they are able to grow up and mature.”