Every August, high school athletes have their summers shortened by the opening day of practice for fall sports.
Monday was that day. It was a perfect day for the beach, lake or any number of summer activities.
But athletes in football, field hockey, soccer, golf, volleyball and cross country don’t mind missing out. They were doing the sports they love.
The regular season begins Sept. 6. From now until then, there will be much drilling on fundamentals, conditioning and strategy.
While high school football will have a new look with four classes this season, the regimen of preparing for the season doesn’t change. The Biddeford football team was on its practice field across from the high school bright and early. The Tigers didn’t waste any time getting into the routine they hope will lead to a playoff berth in late October.
Wearing their familiar orange helmets, the Tigers worked on several facets of the game.
One other thing familiar with the Tigers was their head coach, as Brian Curit is back after an absence of seven years. Curit was head coach from 1994 to 2006 and led Biddeford to a Class A state title in his first season.
“It feels good,” said Curit. “I hope I feel that way in October. I’ve surrounded myself with exceptional teachers (assistants). We’re all disciples of Coach (Mike) Landry.”
With a relatively inexperienced team, Curit felt much was accomplished on opening day.
“We tried to immerse them in a lot of things. I thought it went well considering the players are learning a new offense and learning to adjust to me,” he said.
Curit replaced Scott Descoteaux, who coached for six years. Curit said he tried to persuade Descoteaux to continue because, for one thing, he wanted him to coach his son, Joe, a freshman.
“Scott had other interests he wanted to pursue. If my son wasn’t going to be coached by Scott, I figured maybe I should. I’ve coached all the kids in my son’s class. I’ve known them since they were little,” he said.
Curit had been coaching at the middle school level the past few years. The only players he hasn’t coached are the current seniors.
Corey Brown, a senior co-captain, is looking forward to having Curit as head coach. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about him,” said Brown, a wide receiver. “Coach Curit works the players hard and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Biddeford had a 3-5 record last season and graduated several key players. Brown said what happened last season doesn’t mean anything now.
“We have a brand new slate. It’s a clean start,” said Brown. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. I thought our first practice went well. We did a lot of team activities this summer to help build team chemistry and that carried over to the first practice.”
The Bucksport football team had its own version of college basketball’s “Midnight Madness,” starting practice just past midnight.
Thornton Academy, the defending Class A state champion, wrapped up its first practice around 11:30 a.m. It was a busy morning on the school’s fields and in the gym. Athletic Director Gary Stevens said the Golden Trojans had their largest ever signup for fall sports, with a total of 555 students. Last year’s previous record was 425.
The volleyball team had 90 girls sign up to play. Mackenzie Foley, a senior, said there were 50 girls at opening practice.
“We had a very energetic practice. Everyone came ready to play,” she said.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at [email protected]