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Clippers begin workouts to prepare for football season

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The calendar still read July 30, but there they were, a group of student athletes, on the field behind the Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School (DRCSS), working out in preparation for the upcoming high school football season, though the first day of school was still more than a month away.
An assistant coach for several years, Scott Kish is taking over as head coach this season. He said the focus of the practices right now is more on conditioning.
“Agility and footwork, a little bit of strengthening for the kids. And then we’ll probably look at getting into equipment and playbook stuff a little bit later into August,” he added.
It may be the middle of summer, but the commitment shown by the players in this early stage of workouts is impressive, as 22 players showed up for the team’s second workout session, Aug. 1.
“That’s very good numbers for us, for the early part of August. So that bodes well,” Kish said.
The Clippers will have a young team this season, Kish said, noting quite a few Grade 9 and 10 players are coming out for practice. But, he added, with 14 players graduating in June, it is hard to replace them.
The Rural Manitoba Football League grew by one team this summer, as the Interlake Thunder, based in Stonewall, has joined the league. And Kish noted the top three teams last year - Dauphin, Moosomin and Southwest - each lost a significant number of Grade 12 players.
“So I think the competition will be much more even throughout. So I think it will be a good year. It will be a tougher year. And it will be really interesting to see what Interlake comes in with. We anticipate, with the success of their development programs and the junior program, they should be a really strong team. And they were previously, when they were in the league. So we shall see,” he said.
Though the Clippers will have a young team, the returning players have championship experience, with the Clippers having won the last three league titles. That experience will give the Clippers confidence heading into the season.
“It’s hard to replace that. That’s an intangible we have at this point in time and that makes a difference. I think we’re also going to be pretty relaxed this season. I’m not sure we feel the pressure to repeat again,” Kish said.
“If it happens, I think we’ll be ready for it. But I think this year, in some ways, has more of a feeling of a development year for us to get back to that level, just with the number of kids that moved on.”
Regardless, Kish feels the Clippers still have the skill and capability to challenge for a championship again.
Anyone interested in playing are welcome to attend practices, which will be held every Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., behind the DRCSS at 330 Mountain Rd.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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