Gonk Knocks S2 E3 – Offense Leads the Way, Defense wins Games

In Episode 1, I showcased highlights from the pre-practice meeting on Day 1 that opened up the 2019 Algonquin Tomahawks preseason.  In Episodes 2 and 3, I focused on what happened out on the practice field.  Check out Episode 3 below:

After some defensive drills early in practice, it was time for some 7 on 7 football.

Today, most of everything clicked for the offense. All 3 QBs, senior Riley Greenwald, junior Jeff Valentine, and sophomore Coleman Hostage, had some big moments. Captain Rio Ferguson anchored the backfield with help from Ryan Connelly, Pedro Ribeiro, Ray Del Re, and others. Many receivers, both on the outside and in the slot, had great moments, including Nick Alessi, Tom Geoffrion, Jason Levin, and Derek Blanchard.

Last year, Blanchard was primarily a tight end, as he played in 2 TE sets with Chris Pacios, who has since transferred.

This year, he not only got work at tight end, but also as a wide receiver and defensive back.

Blanchard especially shined as a route runner and pass catcher.

Before practice, Blanchard was voted the third captain by his teammates.

Rafael Gutierrez also had a great catch.  As a sophomore, he has already stood out in the slot and made a name for himself, so his future with the team is bright.

As Coach said, this offense looked pretty good today. But the way to win football games is with good blocking, good tackling, and good defense, skills the team will continue to work at throughout camp.

I caught up with Coach Taylor Allen once more after practice.

It was a strong practice for the T-Hawks, but this is only the beginning. Tomorrow morning, the team will have to get there early for practice and team photos before a day of rest on Sunday.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Monday, 8/19 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #3
  • Tuesday, 8/20 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #4
  • Wednesday, 8/21 @ 1 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #5
  • Thursday, 8/22 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #6 (First in full pads)
  • Friday, 8/23 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #7
  • Saturday, 8/24 @ 10 a.m.: Scrimmage #1 @Clinton High School vs. Clinton
  • Monday, 8/26 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #8
  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S1 E2 – Raising the Bar

Below is Episode 2, along with my voiceover recap of the second day of football activity at Algonquin, August 18th.  In case you missed it, Click here for Episode 1.

On Day 1, Coach Allen set the bar high for the team’s expectations. On Day 2 the team looked to improve upon the strong day 1 start.  One thing that helped was practicing outside.  Unlike Day 1, no portions of the practice were in the stuffy and cramped gym.

However, it was another very hot and humid day, which did make the practice even harder.  Plus, they faced their toughest challenge yet on Day 2, conditioning drills.

Without the threat of thunderstorms until later, the team spent their entire 2 hour practice outside on the practice field next to the game day field.  The team practiced more plays today which was easier to do on the field with cleats on the grass as opposed to the hard gym floor.

For this year the coaches decided that players would only need to pass the conditioning test once.  Today was the first time players had the chance to pass the test and it was done near the end of a hot and grueling practice.  Fortunately, players were not in full pads.  Instead it was helmets, burn the boat t-shirts, and shorts.  The conditioning times that they had to meet were very tough but it was clear that this group of players have worked hard all summer and would give it their all to pass on Day 1.  The test was an individual test but players were tested in positional groupings as the time thresholds were different based on position.

The energy and team building is already noticeable as I saw players rooting each other on, even moments after running the drill themselves.  The conditioning is key to make sure the players are ready for the season and Coach Allen sees it as a great way for teammates to have friendly competition and motivate each other to succeed.

It was not easy for the players to achieve their targeted times in the hot sun after nearly 2 hours of practice.  Not everyone met their goal on the first day of conditioning.

But being out in the hot sun just helps the team get used to the tough workload and motivates them to improve and be ready for the next practice and conditioning test on Monday.  I spoke with Junior and Center Ryan Carmody, Senior captain Sam Crain, along with coaches Taylor Allen and Tyrone Notice after practice (See the video for my interviews).

I also had the chance to speak with a few members of the freshman team about their practice in the heat.

The team takes a day off on Sunday, August 19, but they’ll be back at it on Monday.  There is still a lot of hard work ahead of them leading up to the regular season opener on September 7.   Coach Allen stayed after practice to shake hands with some of the players and recognize them for their efforts so far.   They are making progress every day and it’s been really exciting to watch this team come together.