Meridian Star

Sports

July 2, 2014

Northeast has 4th quarter on its mind

MERIDIAN — The fourth quarter is what it comes down to for Northeast Lauderdale High School.

That was head coach Curt Blackburn’s message to his players during the team’s summer strength and conditioning work. Blackburn pointed to his team’s tough regional schedule and said if the Trojans want to improve on their 1-4 area record from last season, the fourth quarter would make or break that goal.

“It’s just a battle week in and week out,” Blackburn said. “That’s what we tell them and trying to get them ready for in the weight room, preparing for fourth quarters. It’s a tight battle, and that fourth quarter really makes a difference. If we can win that, I think we have a chance of winning the ball game.”

The Trojans work out on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, splitting time between the weight room and speed and agility drills. Players lift for upper body one day, lower body for the next and for both on Thursdays.

Senior linebacker William Serton said he’s adopted an “outwork the competition” mentality that he takes into football activities.

“This prepares us for the road to come,” Serton said. “Hard work beats talent, so you’re just trying to put in the work.”

Weights and plyometrics aren’t the only thing on which Northeast works during the summer months. The team does 7-on-7 drills for 20 to 25 minutes after speed and agility drills, and they also take part in the Meridian High School 7-on-7s.

“They’re helping us tremendously,” Blackburn said of the 7-on-7s. “We have a sophomore quarterback (Lane Gordon) stepping up to play, so he’s getting a lot of experience reading coverages and things like that, and he’s getting his timing down with receivers.”

The 7-on-7s also help defensive players like Serton get into playing shape.

“It really gives you a look for what’s coming later on in the season,” he said.

Participation is at approximately 80 percent, which is good, but could be better Blackburn said.

“You always want more,” Blackburn said. “In some ways, (80 percent is) a positive, but when I broke them down (Tuesday), I told them we have B or C participation, and we play in an A league, so we have to get our numbers up a little bit and get more kids involved.”

Looking ahead to the season, Serton said he and the rest of the players are hoping to prove the doubters wrong.

“I feel like we’re going to be under the radar,” Serton said. “We’re going to shock a lot of people. They’re always counting us out.”

Serton also said he doesn’t necessarily prefer being the favorite or underdog.

“Actions speak louder than words; that’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said.

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