GREENVILLE – The Mississinawa Valley football team wrapped up a three-day team camp on Wednesday at Chenoweth Trails and left feeling really good about what was accomplished and what lies ahead.
The Blackhawks spent three days at Chenoweth Trails – The Light Foundation’s 450 acre facility near Greenville – working on team bonding, conditioning and football skills.
“I think it helped our team a lot because we were just able to come together and the coaches were able to work with us individually more,” senior Dalton Geesy said.
The Blackhawks were able to set up the camp with the help of Brian Rehmert, an assistant boys basketball coach at Mississinawa Valley and the facilities manager for The Light Foundation – a non-profit organization founded by Greenville native and former New England Patriot Matt Light.
“We have a great facility that we can use right in our backyard,” Mississinawa Valley football coach Patrick Baker said. “I feel we should use that. Matt Light … taking advantage of his generosity. I really thank Brian Rehmert and The Light Foundation for allowing us to come out here and use this facility.”
Mississinawa Valley was able to use the foundation’s facilities in a variety of ways to keep the team camp fresh for its players including a jog through the woods, practicing on the artificial turf and playing GaGa Ball, which is a variation of dodgeball.
“Just a great experience for the atmosphere,” senior Cameron Anguiano said.
The team’s seniors said they really enjoyed practicing at Chenoweth Trails for a few days and thought it would be beneficial l for them as it took them out of their comfort zone and forced them to be adaptable.
“It switches things up,” senior Levi Livingston said, “keeps you on your toes.”
Mississinawa Valley is entering its first season with Baker and his staff at the helm. So far the coach has been impressed by his team.
“I’m really, really impressed with the effort out of these kids,” Baker said. “Everything we’ve asked of them this summer they’ve done. They’re right; it’s a totally different approach. And they’ve really responded to it positively thus far.”
With the team camp done, the Blackhawks now are getting ready for practice to officially start in August. That’s when they’ll really learn what they have, Baker said.
“Things can change when you get pads on,” he said. “There’ll always be some surprises. This kid is a little bit more aggressive than we thought. Maybe this kid is better with the ball in his hands in pads. Kids are football-fast sometimes with pads on. That’s how we play the game … is with pads on. So I’m really excited to see what kids can do in that circumstance about a week from today.”
Mississinawa Valley is looking to turn around its program after going 3-17 over the past two seasons. Wins and losses aren’t the team’s primary focus, though, Baker said.
“I’ve told our team that we’ll be judged on our effort and our character,” Baker said. “I don’t want to put it as we’re going to win X amount of games. I don’t want to say I don’t care, but I want them to buy into the process, and we’ll worry about the results later.”
As the season quickly approaches, the Blackhawks said they sensed a lot of positive vibes in their program.
“It’s like a whole new fresh start,” Livingston said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports. For more features online go to advocate360.org or ‘like The Daily Advocate’ on Facebook by searching Advocate360.