Football preseason notes: Prairie Falcons
Notes from Prairie’s preseason practices
FOOTBALL IS FUN
Jason Bracken needs to work on his game face.
“He is always having fun on the football field,” Prairie coach Terry Hyde said. “That kid could take a big bite of a sauerkraut sandwich and still come away with a smile.”
It seems to run counter with the mindset many football players have. You know, the idea of football being about intensity and toughness.
But Bracken doesn’t think so.
“A play only lasts for 4 to 7 seconds,” Bracken said. “For me, for that 4 to 7 seconds, it’s 100 percent. But in the time we have off between plays, I try to lighten people up by cracking jokes and having fun. You can have fun, but still be serious about what you’re doing. Plus, you don’t get as tired.”
Bracken, a senior receiver and linebacker, believes being one of the Falcons’ co-captain means getting teammates fired up when they need to get fired up, but also keeping light in the breaks.
“We’ve had kids come out for spring ball who have a lot talent, but they leave because it got too hard, or the coaches were hard on them,” Bracken said. “So I just try to come up to them to lighten things up and remind them that football is fun.”
And sharing a laugh builds team unity, he added.
“You need to pick up your brothers because this is a brotherhood,” he added. “You keep them accountable and picking them up when you need to.”
Last season, the Falcons got to practice on a new artificial turf field on the Prairie High School campus.
This summer, lights were added to the field. The Falcons have been holding evening practices during preseason drills.
“It’s really nice,” Hyde said. “A lot of my coaches are not on campus during the day. They have other jobs, so they can’t get here until later. In past years, if we had to practice late, we had to head over to District Stadium (in Battle Ground). But now, we can do it right here at Prairie.”
Prairie boasts a senior-led roster with plenty of experience, especially on the line.
But the Falcons also have a good lineman in sophomore Dallas Goodpaster, who saw a lot of playing time as a freshman.
And that’s unusual for a lineman.
“Yeah, but not a lot of freshmen are 5-10, 220 pounds,” Hyde said. “He was a 14-year-old in an adult’s body.”
BETTER AT QUARTERBACK
Hyde has been blessed with some good quarterbacks in his tenure at Prairie. But last season, the Falcons lacked experience at the position, which led to a lot of growing pains.
Tyler Armstrong stepped into the role late in the season and passed for 262 yards on 16 completions.
“We’ve got Tyler Armstrong back at quarterback, who can really throw the ball,” offensive lineman Tyler Grant said. “That’s going to make us a balanced team this year.”