The DAR football team hit the field Monday morning for summer workouts on what was an absolutely perfect day for it.
It was overcast. The temperature was 79 degrees and a cool breeze blew across the field.
It felt like football season.
"You don't get many days like this in summer workouts," Coach Joel Poole said.
DAR went to a 7-on-7 team camp at Sylvania last week and went 5-1-1 in competition. But Poole said fans shouldn't read a lot into that. 7-on-7 success does not necessarily translate to success in real football, since linemen are not part of the equation.
Still, DAR looked pretty good Monday for not having had many workouts this summer. New quarterback Justin Stubblefield was slinging the ball all around the field and receivers were grabbing his passes for the most part.
It is definitely a rebuilding year for the Patriots. They lost 18 seniors to graduation from last year's state playoff team.
Stubblefield was a starting wide receiver last season and he saw some time as backup at quarterback. But generally speaking, there are few starters back.
T.J. Leonard promises to be one of DAR's team leaders. He'll likely start on offense and defense. He was playing defensive back when we watched Monday.
"T.J. and Justin may be our only starters back on offense," Poole said.
On defense, linebacker Seth Esslinger and lineman Charles Brown return.
Big tight end Josh Thrasher back and will likely figure prominently in DAR's game planning.
Brady Largen looked sharp in drills Monday, even though he is only a freshman.
The Patriots will attend 2 team camps next week.
"It's a matter of getting the young guys plugged in and getting them ready," Poole said.
The Patriots will open the season Aug. 23 at Westminster. That's a so-called "Week Zero" game since it starts a week earlier than the season normally would.
"We're not playing a jamboree," Coach Poole said. "We will take an open week during the season. It's a long season. We will give the kids Friday and Monday off during the open week and give them a time to recharge."