Football, volleyball, soccer and cross country officially begin practicing

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Rangers football coach Andy Mott takes running backs through drills during Mondays opening practice session. For the athletes at Estacada High, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The long period of grueling summer camps, informal workouts and open gyms is finally over and the fall sports season is within reach.

The Estacada football, volleyball, soccer and cross country squads were officially free to open practice on Monday and the Rangers could not be more excited.

“We had a great first day,” volleyball coach Shawna Lippert said. “Our level of play is already ahead of where we were at this point last year, so things are looking good so far.”

The Estacada volleyball club got in two practices on Monday. There was an emphasis on the fundamentals as the coaching staff spent a chunk of practice teaching the basics, but the Rangers were also able to dedicate ample time to hitting balls on the courts.

“I was really happy with the work ethic and attitude they came in with. We were able to make a lot of progress,” Lippert said.

Over on the football practice field, the Ranger football players were breaking into the fall routine with equal vigor.

“The first day is just about getting used to being back on the football field, but they came out ready to work today,” head coach Andy Mott said. “It’s important in these first few practices to get everyone back in shape and ready to go.”

Mott, who took over the program prior to last season, was pleased with the understanding his players are showing early. He acknowledged there was a learning curve in his debut season, but feels he and the players know what to expect of each other now.

There is always going to be some offseason dust to shake off, however many Rangers were already in good form. A solid core of players went to a five-day camp last month which put them well ahead of schedule. Those players were ready to go on Day 1 which allowed the team to go over more advanced concepts and schemes.

With that in mind, the football staff still made a point to tackle the little things. That approach will continue throughout the preseason.

“We want to have the basics down, but we also want to master a few things,” Mott said. “It is too overwhelming to try and perfect everything before the first game, but we hope to be doing some things really well.”

The other teams at Estacada followed that same unspoken formula of blending the fundamentals with more technical instruction as they ease into the rigorous schedules the season brings.

There is a quick turnaround from the first day of practice to live competition. The cross country runners for Estacada kick off the fall sports season next Friday at Wilsonville. The football, volleyball and girls soccer groups get under way the next week while the boys soccer squad opens one week later.

“We are excited with what we are seeing so far. We are going to continue to build and get better,” Mott said. “We think there are good things on the horizon.”

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