Below is Episode 4 along with some upcoming key dates, links to previous episodes, and my voiceover recap of the day. You can find all Gonk Knocks coverage here.
Full Interviews from Episode:
Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team
- Friday, 8/24 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #7
- Saturday, 8/25 @ 10 a.m.: Scrimmage #1 @Clinton High School vs. Clinton & Bartlett
- Monday, 8/27 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #8
- Tuesday, 8/28 @ 3 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #9
- Wednesday, 8/29 @ 7:20 a.m.: Players Return to School
- Friday, 8/31 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 @Franklin High School vs. Franklin
- Friday, 9/7 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 at Home vs. Worcester North
Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks
- S1 E1 – Burn the Boats
- S1 E2 – Raising the Bar
- S1 E3 – Coach’s Update #1 (After Day 4)
- S1 E4 _ Step it Up
More Gonk Knocks coming soon!
After four increasingly challenging practices, on Wednesday August 22nd, the Tomahawks had their 5th preseason practice which was their second straight practice in “uppers” which is shoulder pads and helmets with shorts and practice jerseys. After a lot of hard work so far, some players were feeling a bit sore. But the team appeared in good shape after 4 practices.
Performance-wise, today was arguably Algonquin’s best practice so far . The team has worked hard to stay healthy. The coaches worked with the players on physical conditioning and had everyone perform stretches and and various warmups at the start of practice.
With the upper pads on, the players had physical contact and it is expected to intensify in full pads tomorrow through Saturday when they have a scrimmage at Clinton High School at 10 AM when family and friends are welcome to come watch. After warmups and head to head physical match-ups, the team broke up into defensive positional groups: d-linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.
Each group ran their own unique drills. The defensive backs were simulating interceptions. The coaches intentionally threw the ball to them and they would catch it and run it back. The defensive lineman were practicing their blocking through various methods. I was especially intrigued by the linebacker drills. The linebackers practiced strip sacks and tackles.
A couple of the team captains, Burke Dion and Brendan Hermanspan were absent on the field for part of practice but they cheered on their teammates throughout practice when they were on the sidelines. They were also having fun hanging out with offensive coordinator Bill Griffin’s 7-year old son, Joey, who was watching practice from the sidelines with his dad.
Meanwhile, the team wrapped up defensive positional drills and began some 11 on 11 Drills. The team did pull some receivers and QBs aside for some positional drills of their own for a little while as well. While the receivers and QBs worked, the rest of the offense did too by conducting some running plays.
Throughout the day, tight ends Chris Pacios, a sophomore and Derek Blanchard, a junior were playing well. Both were getting good feedback which sparked an added boost of motivation and energy at the very competitive position. This should be a real close battle for the starting tight end job but with both playing so well the team may use dual tight end formations.
Coach Allen decided to have the team to skip conditioning tests for the day. However, they still did one extra conditioning drill. This extra conditioning was far from easy. The team puts on full pads tomorrow as they continue to step it up each day, and they are hyped.
Check out the the full interviews from the day as some were partially used throughout today’s episode. I had the chance to interview head coach Taylor Allen, defensive coordinator Mark Allen, Sophomore tight end Chris Pacios, and Sophomore Tackle Cole Brooks.
This coach started this year aiming to lead this team to new heights and from what I have seen so far, the team, culture, and program are definitely on a continuing upswing as you can see it and hear it from the players and coaches. It’s been great to watch up close because you can feel the energy and passion the players are bringing every day. Stay tuned for more Gonk Knocks including post game interviews after the scrimmage on Saturday at 10AM at Clinton High School.