Warriors grow closer through team bonding

Sherando receivers line up for a passing drill during a recent practice. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — While some football teams practiced last Thursday, the very first day teams were allowed to, Sherando took a different approach.

Sherando football coach Bill Hall had his team do some team bonding activities on Thursday and Friday, including a boot camp.

Hall said he was contacted by the Virginia Army National Guard about a boot camp and thought it would be a good idea. The camp was held at the school on Thursday morning.

“A lot of the same principles that the service, it doesn’t matter which branch of the service, a lot of their principles are the same things we talk about,” Hall said after practice Monday. “Ownership, being responsible, never leaving anybody behind and those types of things.”

Sherando rising senior Aaron Banks said the drills they had to do weren’t easy, but he felt like it helped the team get better.

“It helped a lot,” Banks said. “They really just pulled out everything out of us. They threw a lot at us. We just had to grind and do good.”

After the boot camp, the team went to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester and watched a private showing of “The Boys of Fall,” a documentary from 2010.

They also spent some time at Sherando having some private time to get to talk and get to know each other better. Hall said they finished Thursday with a barbecue and pool party at rising senior Mike Perry’s house.

On Friday the team did some work around the school, as part of a community outreach program. Hall said the team cleaned up the bleachers, painted the walls inside and outside the school and worked on shrubbery.

“We’re part of something that’s bigger than just us, and we want to make them appreciate that,” Hall said.

They then had a cookout at the school and then went bowling together.

Banks said it was fun going bowling, and helped the team bond.

“Just being able to go out and chill as a team is always fun,” Banks said. “It’s not something that’s really serious, but we’re still competitive. It’s nice and fun.”

Hall said that all of the team bonding won’t show up early in the season, but when the players face some adversity it will help them.

Hall said that Sherando had 45 players show up for varsity practice Monday. He said that they do a lot of things in the off-season, which allowed them to have a harder first practice.

The team had a practice two weeks ago for a week, and also practiced the last two weeks of school in May and June.

“If we would have just done our regular stuff (Monday) it would have been like clock work,” Hall said. “So what we tried to do is we tried to throw a lot on their plate. So in terms of motion and shifts and checks and everything like that. Things that you would do normally a month from now — we did it on Day 1.”

Hall said he was pleased with how the players handled everything they threw at them. He said they wanted to push the players and take them out of their comfort zone so they could focus and improve.

The Warriors have a lot back from last year’s squad. The team went 5-5 last year, but the team’s five losses came from teams with a combined 47-3 regular season record.

Hall said he loves playing a tough schedule.

“We want to push ourselves so we can reach our potential,” Hall said. “So when we have a year that things go well we can advance and make a long run in the playoffs. So that tough road to hoe last year, will be beneficial for us this year. And our guys have come in with good attitudes of coming to work and they’ve had a great off-season.”