Wildcats, Bush excited for season

Warren County head football coach Brian Bush has his team run sprints during practice on Monday. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Brian Bush had trouble sleeping on Sunday night.

The night before his first practice as Warren County head coach, Bush said he was pretty excited about getting the season started.

“I didn’t really sleep (Sunday) night, because I was too excited,” Bush said Monday after the team’s first practice. “So far it’s been amazing.”

Bush, who had been an assistant for five years at Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, said he had a lot of help from his dad, Randy, who coaches at Hidden Valley. He said current Hidden Valley head coach Scott Weaver has also been really important in helping him get adjusted to being a coach.

“He’s a great mentor,” Bush said of Weaver. “He’s sort of helped me get real prepared for this upcoming season making sure that I dot my I’s and cross my t’s and make sure everything’s straight. It’s been great.”

Bush was hired in May, taking over a program that went 3-7 last year.

The players said that they’ve already seen a change in the program under Bush.

“It’s very intense,” Warren County rising senior Jacob Dodson said. “A lot of different things going on this year. It feels a lot better than last year and the year before that. Just real intense. Everybody’s in it together. We’re all as a family.

“A lot of energy going on with us right now trying to change the culture around here.”

Warren County rising senior R.J. Keeney said that he’s noticed more effort from the players in practice.

“During practice today no one gave up,” Keeney said. “People might have got sick, but they got right back in it. They pushed themselves to the max, and last year we didn’t have that. We had people going half speed. This first practice it was full speed the whole time.”

Bush said he had 74 kids, junior varsity and varsity combined, pick up equipment for the first day of practice.

He said he was very pleased with the energy level the players had.

“Just the excitement of being day 1, the energy was high,” Bush said. “I’m a very energetic-type guy. They have gotten used to that already that they sort of need to pick it up. And they sense that, which is great.”

Bush said he was also very happy with the turnout the team had in the offseason workouts, averaging about 30 to 40 kids a day.

“I think the kids got stronger, faster,” Bush said. “We had a couple practices where we started sort of teaching the running game, passing game and defensive scheme that we want to do. And the kids have sort of bought in. And the kids that were there are sort of taking over now and putting the players in the place they need to be day 1, which is awesome.”

Even though it was hot outside, the players said they felt like they adjusted well. They said had some preseason workouts over the summer outside and so it helped them adjust  to it when practice started Monday.

Dodson said that he feels like the team has definitely bonded over the past three months.

“We’ve definitely grown together,” Dodson said. “We’ve made a lot of friendships that I feel like will last forever.”