Yellow Jacket football team ready for official practice to begin August 1
MOUNT VERNON — With temperatures ranging into the 90s, it may not seem like football season just yet.
But, for members of the Mount Vernon High School team and other high schools in the area, it sure is.
The Yellow Jackets took a final opportunity to put in some off-season work Thursday, then took on Highland in a 7-on-7 matchup on the hot Yellow Jacket Stadium turf.
“Everything has been going great. We have a great group of kids and we’ve had a great summer,” said Mount Vernon coach Mike Kerr. “We’ve been working a lot and lifting during our 10 days. We’re focusing a lot on us. We’re implementing our system and making sure the kids understand the culture we want built here.”
As Kerr enters his fourth year at the helm of Mount Vernon, the his system is really starting to take shape. The seniors, which is a big class this year, have all played under him for four years, so he’s relying on them to be coaches on the field and help the younger guys understand what it takes to be a Yellow Jacket.
“We have a lot of guys coming back with a lot of experience, so we’re excited about that,” Kerr said. “We lost a good group of seniors who were great leaders. This group has really stepped up and done a great job taking ownership of the team.
“The kids have really bought in. They’ve done a great job holding the young guys accountable. They’ve done that on their own. They know what we want out of them. I think we have a great relationship and they know what I expect. They’ve become coaches on the field.”
Because a good portion of them are returners, it makes it easier on the coaches to ramp things up a bit this early and work on fine-tuning things a little more. That’s where the scrimmage with Highland really helps Kerr’s squad.
The Scots don’t bring in the spread offense that’s taking over in high school football. Their style is much more conducive to a smash-mouth ground game led by its offensive line. But, with most of the linemen on the sideline during 7 on 7s, it creates a different look for the Jackets’ defense to see.
“With so many schools going to the spread (offense), it was nice to see something different that we had to be able to adjust to and read different keys. We open with Marion Harding, who is a tight end and two backs type of offense, so this was good for us to have to adjust to other formations. That’s what the summer is about to me — understanding that if we play by our rules, we can adapt to anything,” Kerr said.
The official start of practice for the Jackets and all of the other teams in the area will be Aug. 1.