Innovation

Westyn Smith with his version of free weight lifting.

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Whether there will be a fall football season at Emmett High is still officially in question. For sixty or seventy young athletes, however, the season remains the carrot at the end of the stick they have been chasing for months – in some cases years.

Currently it appears that fall football will take place. Emmett is currently scheduled to open its season at Boise on Aug. 28 and at home on Sept. 4 against Weiser High.

For the athletes, however, the question of when and how the games will be played, are currently secondary. They have been since the first COVID-19 restrictions went into play in March. The focus has been on doing everything in their power to be ready when that first kickoff arrives – whenever that is.

For Emmett football that means extensive conditioning and weight lifting. With the school weight room closed until June and then limited access since, it has been on the shoulders of the athletes themselves to self-motivate and improvise. And they have done well according to coach Rich Hargitt.

“I was afraid we would have a huge gap to make up with over two months of no team conditioning and weightlifting.” Hargitt said. “Over 90 percent of the boys came back at or near the weight levels they had established in March. That’s impressive to me.”

For senior running back Westyn Smith his focus on improving on a 1,100 yard rushing season has brought about some creativity. Smith built his own set of bar bells, using truck tires and wheels.

“It’s just a matter of keeping your eye on what we want to happen this fall,” Smith said. “We’ve been thrown a few curves but there is always a way to get to that goal if you care enough and you work hard enough.”

The team has returned for some camp activities this summer with limited contact and working more on timing in pass patterns and running through play formations than true game simulation.

The limits are pretty much the same with all schools so Huskie players don’t think they will be behind when kickoff happens.

“We are ready – mentally and physically,” says Smith.

Senior all-conference linebacker Axel Sanchez agrees.

“It’s a little nerve racking,” Sanchez says about the uncertainty of the fall season. “We just have to focus on each of us getting stronger, faster, and more mentally prepared. We definitely can be a playoff team. If they hold them – we will be there and we will be ready.”

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