They last played four months ago in Medical Lake, and their next regular season game will probably be six months from now, but dedicated student-athletes are working out with weights to become better football players.
More than a dozen Jacks football players were in the Quincy High School weight room on Friday, along with athletes in other sports, making use of the school’s top-flight facility.
The Jacks football team head coach, Russ Elliott, appreciates the quality of the facility and the attraction of the large windows supplying fantastic views to the north and east, over play fields and the stadium.
“I just think it’s awesome,” Elliott said.
He typically opens the facility and supervises a morning for a workout session before school each day, 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., he said. In the afternoon, Gonzalo Guerrero, an assistant foot ball coach and assistant girls basketball coach, usually guides a workout session after classes.
Gavin Gonzalez and Jayden Richards, two off-season captains of the football team, take advantage of the open workout sessions, putting in the effort in the weight room, making a substantial time commitment. Last Friday, they were there, looking forward to returning to the football field.
Gonzalez is a sophomore and played safety last season. He is in the weight room for two and a half hours per day, six days a week, he said.
Richards is a junior and played running back last season. He spends an hour and a half to two hours per day in the weight room “every day that I can,” he said.
“I try to get in as much as I can – 10, 12 hours a week,” Richards said.
They both see benefits to their time in the weight room.
“I think the payoff is you are going to be stronger, you walk around more confidently, you feel better,” Richards said. “And in sports seasons you just perform better, and you win more.”
“You play better, you’re stronger. You do better in sports,” he said.
Gonzalez was focused on football, even though it was February. He said the work with the weights will pay off in the fall on the gridiron.
Richards was working out for track season about to start but he was still training for football by adjusting some workouts, he said.
Quincy students have excellent access and preparation to use the weight room. It is open for sessions during the school year, Elliott said, and during the summer, the football team holds two sessions per day of its own, and Devan Silva has a third session for girls.
On Friday, about two dozen students were there after school, working out with pop music thumping out of large speakers. Most the students were football players.
Elliott emphasizes weight lifting for his players.
“We know that if you are bigger, faster and stronger, you are a better football player,” he said. “Strong football programs have strong lifting programs.”
The football program, which he took on last season as head coach after serving as an assistant coach, is trying to get its weight lifting program where it should be, and the players are responding, he said.
“Our kids are coming in and getting strong and putting in the time, so it’s great,” he said.
The workouts at this time of year are mostly self-directed, Elliott said, and then in summer, the football program makes them a little more structured. He named four exercises critical for football: dead lifts, squats, power cleans and bench press. Football players need to work on core and hips strength.
As an incentive, the team puts players’ names on the back of their jerseys if they do enough lifting.
“Every year, the best players we have are the hardest lifters,” with few exceptions, he said.
Some of the team’s hardest lifters from last season, such as seniors Kenny Thompson, David Medina and Jackson Yeates, worked hard in the weight room, and “it showed up on the field,” Elliott said.
Weight lifting adds to their confidence, helps them feel like they might have an advantage on the field, or that they “going to be as good as they can be,” he added.
“It’s a crucial part of the program,” Elliott said.
He credited David Stoddard and Kim Avalos, weight training teachers at the high school, for doing a great job teaching the basics of weight lifting techniques and the proper way to treat the equipment. That way, during the open sessions, the focus can be on strength training.