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Summer training for miners football is underway

Summer training for miners football is underway
Summer training for miners football is underway

 


The Miners football team warms up with track obstacles led by track and field coach Dave Yocum. Last year the team was 11-2.
Clayton Steward/Park Record

If you're wondering what the Miners football team is up to this summer, you can catch them Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings on the Dozier Field turf.

The Miners will then run sprints at 9 a.m. in preparation for the 2024 season.

The spring sessions will be led by head boys track and field coach Dave Yocum. Yocum pushed the boys for about a half hour Friday morning, then they headed out to lift weights with the school's new strength and conditioning coach Matt Herhal.



Herhal works with the entire school and its athletic programs and comes to Park City from Columbia University this spring. At Columbia, Herhal served as the school's assistant director of athletic performance. He held that role for more than ten years.

“We are blessed to have one of the best speed developers in the state,” said football head coach Josh Montzingo as he watched his boys warm up for the run. “Our head track coach, Dave Yocum, is doing a great job for us. He gives his time and energy to the children. He is a blessing.”



Montzingo said morning runs typically last about 45 minutes. He has turned to these two experts to help his team sustain its upcoming 10-plus game schedule this fall. The Miners season begins on August 16 with a rivalry game against Wasatch on the road.

“Our new strength and conditioning coach, Matt Herhal, is also a great guy,” Montzingo added. “We have been truly blessed this summer. I think we will be in the best condition we have ever been.”

Park City will look to continue competing at the state level this season, even after losing 24 seniors last season. Montzingo expects the top contributors this season to be running back Eli Warner, quarterback Bash Bodily and defensive lineman Noah Joiner.

The Miners football team goes through warmups with Dave Yocum at Dozier Field on Friday morning.
Clayton Steward/Park Record

Montzingo expects a turnout of 85% during this and other training sessions during the summer, knowing that children also have to live their lives and make plans during the summer. However, he said the team leaders always show up.

Montzingo added that the boys are definitely discovering what college training under Herhal is like.

“If you're one of those who took the summer off and spent the summer in the Galapagos, just roll into your skinny jeans and jump off your mountain bike, and hope for the best as we start at the end In July, they are the ones trailing behind and having a hard time keeping up with life and questioning life,” Montzingo said.

“Those who have been here all summer say, 'Okay, this is a little bit harder because we're doing some practice now,' but for them it's kind of a different day. They've been doing tough stuff all summer, and they're reaping the rewards of feeling stronger, faster, and like they don't have nearly as many bumps and bruises because their bodies are used to being pushed and pulled.

The team also does schedule work on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Dozier. As Montzingo said, they will reattach their sanitary pads on July 29.

Montzingo said the hardest days during the summer are Friday and Monday. He makes sure he puts pressure on his guys, especially when the weekends are off.

Montzingo believes these sessions and some of the reps his underclassmen got last season, filling in for injured stars, will help them combat their youth this season. The Miners shutout Green Canyon 21-0 in the state semifinals last fall at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“As a result, many key positions will be lost, but there was a lot of young talent behind this,” said Montzingo. “Last year I got a lot of experience with Eli Warner moving into the running back spot behind Will (McCurdy, last year's graduating starter). Will was injured for well over half the season, so he got incredible reps. It's almost like a returning starter coming back, which is a blessing.”

“The same goes for our quarterback spot with Bash, where we had to step in. “When Lincoln (Jackson, last year's graduated starter) got hurt, Bodily went there for about half the season and developed into a leader and really showed how he can play the position.”

Montzingo believes the lines will be crucial to this team's success, as it is for most teams at any level. The majority of the team's losses have come on defense. Montzingo said his offense will score and the defense will come along.

Montzingo said having these outside coaches lead summer practices is a huge advantage because knowing the kids from other sports is a huge advantage. Yocum and Herhal can take the boys exactly where they need to be. Montzingo chuckled a bit when talking about Herhal's high-intensity lifting workouts that come right after Yocum's runs, which he loves but knows may not be the boys' favorites.

Once the team puts on the pads, they practice Monday through Saturday to get ready for the season.

“If you want to play college athletics, you're going to have to be disciplined,” Montzingo said. “You can't just do it once, it has to be a full-time commitment.”

“They don't lose anything by playing other sports, they actually gain. It's more when they sit on their butts and play Xbox, that's where they start to lose some stuff.

Warner had almost 1,000 yards rushing last fall as a sophomore. He participated in jumping, core and endurance exercises on the turf on Friday. He said the hardest part isn't the running, but the new strength workouts.

“They really push us,” Warner said. “They're tough, and the best part is that we just play sevens (seven-on-seven scrimmages) here on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.”

Warner said he can already feel improvements in his strength and speed compared to last year. He believes this work can help them get over the hump in the final stages of this season's play-offs. The Miners are still chasing the first state title in program history.

For the Miners' full season schedule, see their MaxPreps page. Their regular season ends Oct. 16 against 5A foe Springville, which got the best of them on senior night last season. The Miners will play only four home games this season.

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