LANCASTER—Springville-Griffith Institute varsity football head coach Rob Valenti took his team to Lancaster to participate in a 7-on-7 tournament with about 30 other high school football teams July 25.
Valenti wasn’t looking to win the tournament against schools two to three times the size of Springville, but instead get a look at his players in action.
“Today was about bringing a group of kids out and getting them out here and working on the process of competing and seeing a variety of different offenses that we’ll have to defend against,” Valenti said. His team faced off against Lancaster, Cheektowaga, West Seneca West and Pioneer.
The tournament pits unpadded players against one another in passing situations with receivers ruled down by the opposition’s touch, with no tackling involved. While it is far from any game-type intensity, it does allow coaches to implement plays that showcase execution offensively.
“As the day progressed, I think our compete-level increased and guys started playing more confidently and aggressively,” Valenti said. “Our passing attack is all brand new and is predicated off the run, but just watching our guys execute and getting through the new playbook was good to see.”
While witnessing the progress of the group was satisfying, seeing the performance of one particular player put a smile on the coach’s face.
“The highlight of the day for me was watching Sean Barry and his successful return to the field after sustaining a season-ending injury during week two of the 2016 season. He played both sides of the football for us today and he’s really progressed well.”
Valenti elaborated on Barry’s overall value to the program, noting he is a “remarkable individual … and player.”
“Our roster was vastly different last year without him and we felt that loss not only on both sides of the ball, but also in the locker room,” Valenti said. “He never left his teammates, but it’s a different dynamic with not playing and it’s really a credit to him with the perseverance and resolve he’s shown to get himself back on the field.”
The team concludes its clinic schedule at Springville with the installation of its offense and defense combined with lifting and conditioning this week in preparation of Springville’s fourth-annual minicamp, which begins July 31.
The four-day minicamp camp runs from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. each day for the entire Springville football program – modified through varsity. After its conclusion, student-athletes will have a week off before officially starting practice for the 2017 football season Aug. 14.