Kimberly and Preble team up for offseason experience

DE PERE, Wis. - As the old saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best. What about practicing with the best?

That's the exact opportunity Green Bay Preble as their contact period practices draw to a close. For the third straight year Preble and defending state champion Kimberly took the field together at St. Norbert for a joint camp hosted by the Green Knights.

With the start of fall practices just two weeks away, the focus during these practices isn't all about competing for roster spots or putting points on the board.

 "This isn't a time where nobody's going to win the scrimmage, nobody's going to lose the scrimmage. This is the time for teaching," said Preble head coach Tim Larsen."

"These days are all about learning. There's no real evaluation right now. Kids are doing a great job with the time that they're given, and our coaches are doing a great job coaching," said Kimberly head coach Steve Jones.

The coaches aren't the same that see these players on a day to day basis. It's a different set of eyes, the Green Knights' coaching staff.

"Every single year, it seems like, us as a staff we're picking up new drills, we're picking up new techniques," said Larsen.

 

"They're not focusing on developing you into an athlete. They're just trying to develop the skills you already have as an athlete," said Preble running back Henry Geil.

Like many players at the varsity level, Geil is heading into his senior year. That means stepping up into a new leadership role, and also welcoming some new players into the varsity huddle. Developing the bond between teammates is often the part of the offseason that many don't see, and is key to a team's success. Kimberly and Preble are no different.

These practices in a way help both teams become a unit.

"You know, as a team it's kind of cool because it builds a sense of camaraderie throughout the whole program, not just the seniors and juniors," said Geil.

"Obviously it's hard being out here for seven hours, but being able to be with all the guys, there's nothing better," said Kimberly running back D.J. Stewart.

The Papermakers perhaps know the importance of the offseason when it comes to winning consistently. With the longest winning streak in the country, and four straight state titles, Kimberly depends on the work they put in during this time of the year to set them apart.

"A lot of times winning can breed complacency, and that's one thing we're constantly fighting in our program. That's something we're aware of, but we haven't seen much of it from our kids at all,' said Jones.

"Every year that we have won, it's because of the work in the background, and all these guys know it," said Stewart.


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