Evergreen Football Training Camp

Evergreen Plainsmen
Coach Charles Anthony

For some programs, the first week or two of practices are designed for on-field work. For some programs, that means little or no time for the weight room.

Not at Evergreen, though. Weight training and conditioning are constants.

“He likes the weights. And he pushes us really hard,” senior lineman Kelly Suksdorf said, referring to coach Charles Anthony.

Tuesday, I found the Plainsmen finishing their weight-training session with a series of team push-ups. And it wasn’t just a few. They seemed to keep going and going, the players even enduring through the military-style push-ups, with the hands close together. 

From there, it was a quick rest in the team room to view the previous day’s practice on the big screen. Then it was time to hit the field. 

But even then it was not time to actually get to the football-specific drills.

Senior lineman Jason Tiatia said more conditioning was on the schedule.

“That’s our X-factor,” Tiatia said. “In the fourth quarter, we’re not going to be tired.”

Evergreen players run before practice, and in the middle of practice. And after practice, the linemen run extra conditioning.

“Nobody likes to run, but in the end it is so much worth it,” Tiatia said.

“It makes us better,” Suksdorf added.

Surprise team?
With Skyview, Heritage, and now Union in the 4A GSHL, it is easy to overlook the Plainsmen. But in Charles Anthony’s second season, the players have a stronger grasp of the double-wing offense. Could they surprise some teams?

“I kind of like being the wild card,” Tiatia said. “People don’t expect much from us. We’ve set our own goals. We want to get to the playoffs.”

Tiatia quickly realized something, as well.

“Then again, that’s everyone else’s goal, too,” he said.

But about that suprising-other-teams thing … “If the seniors on the offensive line can push a few people around, we’ll move the ball up the field and not let the other team touch the ball,” Suksdorf said.

Some believe in Evergreen:
At other practices this week, including Skyview and Union, I have heard from players that preparing for Evergreen is difficult, with that double-wing offense. They expect Evergreen to be strong.

Coach Anthony said he is not falling for that trap.

“I think that’s a little bit of gamesmanship. They know they have good teams,” Anthony said. “Those guys have pretty good numbers out, and they have a history to prove they have been successful. They’re just trying to deflect a little bit of the pressure from being the top dogs in this city.”

When it’s goin’ good:
Don’t look for any one running back to shine for Evergreen. The offense is not designed that way.

“When you have the offense installed and you have a healthy team, you should see two 1,200-yard running backs, and probably see the fullback with 800 yards,” Anthony said. “That’s when everybody’s clicking and you have the right mix of team.”

He is not sure Evergreen is there yet — he wishes he had more big bodies on the line — but he likes how hard the linemen he does have are working this year.

“We’re not a very big team. And when you’re not very big, the No. 1 thing you need to be is physical, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

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