Norman cross country and soccer standout Patrick Ahearn remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday in a Florida hospital.
The 17-year-old, who was set to captain the Tigers' cross country team this year, was injured Sunday when a rented personal watercraft he was driving hit a boat. The boat's propeller cut off Ahearn's left leg below the knee.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Stan Kirkland told The Associated Press that the family aboard the boat was not injured and the operator saw Ahearn's watercraft approaching and tried to avoid the collision unsuccessfully.
TIME TO REBUILD AT HERITAGE HALL
Gone are longtime starters like Barry J. Sanders, Sterling Shepard and Cale Courtney, along with several others in last year's senior class at Heritage Hall.
Now, coach Andy Bogert is going back to basics in his coaching with Tuesday's first practice.
“We're young and inexperienced,” Bogert said. “We can't assume these guys know what the guys in the past knew. So we're doing a lot of teaching early, and it's a good time to teach, since we're not in pads. We're working on our basics and getting our terminology down.”
To emphasize Bogert's point about the Chargers' youth, there are 41 players on the team currently, and 19 of them are freshmen.
“We have a really nice freshman class, a really good group,” Bogert said. “But as far as getting on the field, there will only be a few of them that will get a chance. So we're basically playing with 22 or 23 kids.”
And there's no rush to get to the regular season. Clinton, Davis and Kingfisher — all state championship contenders in their respective classes — are on the Chargers' schedule in the first four weeks.
MCGUINNESS GOES LATE
In trying to avoid the heat of the day, Bishop McGuinness ran up against an unexpected obstacle — rain.
Tuesday evening's showers kept the Irish from starting their practice on time,
Justin Jones said before practice started that he expected his team to be on the field until around 10 p.m.
The Irish plan on practicing at around 6:45 p.m. every night this week, with a Friday morning workout mixed in.
With Jones now in his second year, he said the installation of his system is much smoother than it was a year ago.
“It's night and day,” Jones said. “We talked about our install schedules with the coaches and they don't even look the same as they did last year.
“It allows us to add wrinkles to what we do earlier instead of working on the basics.”
KRUGER TO SPEAK TO OKCPS COACHES
Though football and other sports began their seasons on Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools will hold an official season kickoff on Aug. 22 at an event headlined by Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger.
Kruger, in his second year at OU, will serve as the keynote speaker of the annual OKCPS coaches' dinner, sharing from his experiences as a college and NBA head coach and answering questions from those in attendance.
SUMPTER IMPRESSES COACH
Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said Phillip Sumpter will move from a defensive back to linebacker this season and also will play tailback.
“I can't say enough about Phillip Sumpter,” Manning said. “He just had a great offseason. I feel like he is a Division I talent. He is going to land somewhere.”
NO MORE TWO-A-DAYS
Most high school football coaches have ended the old tradition of two-a-day practices, Manning said.
“You would find very few high schools that do that,” he said.
Manning prefers one long morning workout with several breaks for the players until school meetings dictate moving practice to the afternoon. That allows players the rest of the day to rest and recover.
“It's got to be where it's a better deal for the coaches, the players and the families themselves,” he said.
With the emphasis on offseason conditioning and seven-on-seven passing leagues in the summer, most players show up on the opening day of practice in excellent shape.
“There is never really a down time in football anymore,” Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen said. “We got workouts all summer.”