By CHRISSY SMITH
Slidell Sports Editor
SLIDELL — Everyone seems to be counting down the days until pre-season football games begin, and high school games are only a little more than a month away.
All five of the local high schools have been putting in some serious work this summer as the squads get ready for this year’s season. With the heat and humidity, it hasn’t been easy, but the teams have remained strong and steady in their workouts.
The Class 5A Slidell Tigers have been doing well so far, although head coach Artie Liuzza said next week will really tell how far the team is doing.
“We’re doing our testing next week and that’ll tell us a lot,” Liuzza said.
He said that although there are family vacations during the summer and other distractions, there has been a good turnout.
The Tigers are implementing a new offense for this season so Liuzza has been getting his team to work on it once a week.
“We’re kind of building it into our practice and our conditioning phase. I think it’s going pretty well. Our offense is really going to be based on the execution phase and it’s really hard to not have everybody here at one time,”?Liuzza said.
Class 4A’s Salmen High School has averaged 75 kids showing up for summer workouts.
“Everybody’s been working hard through the heat. We’ve been working on speed drills, agility drills, strength drills and conditioning. On top of that, we’ve been doing some football drills to keep their minds fresh,”?Salmen Head Coach Jerry Leonard said.
Salmen’s jamboree will be played on Friday, Aug. 24 at Lakeshore.
For Pope John Paul, a Class 2A school, the biggest issue head coach Mark Jeanmard has been working on is improving everybody’s individual strength.
“We’ve been doing a lot of seven-on-seven work,”?Jeanmard said.
There have been an average of 62 players showing up to the morning or afternoon workout sessions.
“There’s been a lot of energy and we’ve been doing half inside and half outside to help with the heat,”?Jeanmard said.
At Class 4A Pearl River, 90 percent of the players have been consistently showing up for workouts.
“We’ve had good turnouts in the past but this is better across the board,”?Pearl River Head Coach Chris Thomas said.
Like other teams, the Rebels have been working on speed, power and agility.
“June was extremely hot, but July was cooler. We’ve been offering two workouts a day so the guys can pick which one they want to attend,”?Thomas said.
With Class 5A team Northshore, Head Coach Mike Bourg said workouts have also been going well.
“The kids are working hard. We’ve been doing workouts three days a week, and seven-on-seven on Tuesdays. The heat has been brutal, but I?think we’ve got a good group out here. If anything, we’ll be physically ready,”?Bourg said.
The Northshore team will be attending camp at the University of Southern Mississippi from July 30-Aug. 2.
“It was really good for us last year so we are going to go again this year,”?Broug said.
Panther players can miss up to five workouts to still be on the team, and Bourg said he expects 75 athletes to be on his roster for the upcoming season.