Football: Hubs begin two-week padded camp

Rochelle and Forreston linemen work through blocking drills during their combined practice at RTHS on Wednesday. The practice highlighted the first of the two-week padded camp for the Hubs. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle hosts combined practice with Forreston on Wednesday

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub football team began its two-week padded camp on Monday, with returning and incoming athletes at all positions suiting up in full gear as the program nears the end of its summer schedule. The camp runs from 8-10:30 a.m. and ends Thursday, July 28.

“Camp has been going well,” head coach Kyle Kissack said. “We have a good mix of kids. We have a number of sophomores, juniors and seniors who are competing for starting positions and they’re all really mature. They understand our process and they come to camp everyday with the intention of winning those jobs. It’s been a very competitive environment in camp and our senior leadership has been very solid. They’ve set the standard and it’s been fun to watch.”

The two-week padded camp gives athletes one more chance to sharpen their skills before the IHSA football season begins with fall practices on Monday, Aug. 8. The camp caps off an active summer schedule for the Hubs, who recently competed in 7-on-7 workouts with Ashton-Frankin Center, Kaneland and Sterling. Rochelle hosted Forreston for a combined team camp on Wednesday, July 20 and the Hubs will have one final 7-on-7 against Byron on Friday, July 29.

“Practicing with Forreston was nice because it was a different competitive environment for our kids,” Kissack said. “We’ve done some 7-on-7s throughout the summer, but we were able to get our offensive and defensive linemen involved with Forreston and we were able to work on more of our running concepts. It was a chance for our kids to be physical and continue competing for starting jobs. We enjoy working with the Forreston staff and we share similar philosophies.”

Kissack said the two-week padded camp serves as a gauge for where his team stands, not only against local opponents but also in terms of the roster and depth chart. Rochelle will have one week of no-contact before the start of fall practice, which precede the season-opener against Woodstock on Friday, Aug. 26. The Hubs are looking to build on an 8-3 record in 2021.

“We want to have a good idea of where we’re headed,” Kissack said. “We have a few spots where we have kids who’re continuing to compete. It’s been a valuable competition for everyone involved, but we want to have a good grasp of where we are before August practices start.”