Warriors stronger than ever

Dedication in offseason could lead to big season for Chippewa Hills

If you ask Chippewa Hills football coach Larry Jose, he probably would tell you he didn’t enjoy going to the weight room.

It didn’t matter. Morning, noon or night, not many athletes would show up to participate in offseason strength and conditioning sessions.

Jose, who is entering his 14th season at Chippewa Hills, continued to open the weight room because he knew how important strength is for all athletes — not just football players.

FIRST DAY: The Chippewa Hills football team run through defensive drills on the opening day of football on Monday. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

It doesn’t matter if an athlete is participating in basketball, baseball, football or wrestling, strength is important and is the self-motivating player that comes to the weight room each day to get bigger and stronger each day.

Those are the type of athletes that usually breed success in any sport.

But those athletes weren’t necessarily coming to the weight room at Chippewa Hills. That is, until this year.

Since the end of the football season in October, players have made their way into the weight room. It continued into the summer, much to the surprise of Jose.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to come to the weight room during the summer because there would be only eight or nine kids; it isn’t much fun,” Jose said. “This summer, we had 59 kids in there, working their butts off. This is a self-motivated group, they are doing it themselves, it isn’t coming from me or the coaching staff.”

Part of the reason for the big turnout during the summer goes back to what transpired after the season that saw the Warriors go 5-4.

Jose always tries to get his players who aren’t playing in a sport at that time into the weight room. But Jose received unexpected help from others at the school.

Wrestling coach Nate Ethridge, who also doubles as defensive coordinator for the football team, basketball coach Jim Lake and baseball coach Ben Wright all had their players lift weights on non-game days.

“This is the first year where we had the (entire) Chippewa Hills boys program lifting year round,” Jose said. “It has been a solid commitment. We are seeing the results of that. We are stronger than we have ever been. We don’t have weak linemen or weak running backs.”

How that pays off for this season, Jose is cautiously optimistic.

The Warriors will return 16 starters to the line-up, but Jose adds that means little in the overall success of a team.

“The year of a kid is not the reason for optimism,” he said. “The work ethic of the team is what is important. The last eight to nine months has been unbelievable. They are outdoing what I thought we could do in the off season.”

Chippewa Hills has four goals every season — to win the first game, homecoming, the Central State Activities Association and to make the playoffs.

Jose believes the team is on the right track, even before the first snap of the season on Aug. 25 at Montrose.

“I am looking forward to this year,” he said. “I think it is going to be fun.”

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