Football: Hubs take the field for padded camp

Sophomore Bryton DiSimoni takes a carry as junior Ethan Albers gives chase during padded camp on Thursday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle also competing in local 7-on-7 games

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle football program entered the next phase of its offseason program this week, with the Hubs strapping up for their annual two-week padded summer camp for freshmen, sophomores and varsity players.

Rochelle continues to inch closer to its Aug. 30 opener against Pekin. With roughly one month to prepare for its first game and with only a few weeks to go before official practices begin, head coach Kyle Kissack and his staff are working to help the Hubs find ways to keep improving.

“The summer’s really been leading up to this point,” Kissack said. “We have our entire offense and defense installed, so now it’s about giving the kids a few different looks so they can learn to make adjustments. It’s an opportunity for our kids up front to be physical and work on their technique. Our skill kids can get into more pre-snap routines. We’re going to take our two weeks of camp and try to get better every day.”

Rochelle’s summer program includes the Hub Power weightlifting program as well as minicamp, which took place in June, and the annual youth football camp, which Rochelle Township High School hosted about two weeks ago. In addition to the padded camp, the Hubs are facing local opponents in 7-on-7 action at schools such as Kaneland and Byron.

“We like the opportunity to compete,” Kissack said. “Getting out and seeing some other teams is good for our kids, and it’s good for us as a staff as we continue evaluating our kids in those competitive environments. We have some young kids who don’t have much varsity experience, so every day matters more than ever. That’s what these two weeks are about.”

The padded camp runs Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from July 22 through Aug. 1 from 8 to 10:30 a.m. From the freshman level to the varsity level, players wear helmets and shoulder pads, working through both individual skill drills, team offense, team defense and more. When camp concludes, players will have one week off before returning to RTHS for the first official practices of the fall season on Monday, Aug. 12.

“We’re focused on getting better as a team,” Kissack said. “We’ve had a number of guys rise up to that message. It’s something that’s important to our program, and we’ll continue to work at that every day.”

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