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DHS football kicks off

by Chuck Smock

A summer’s worth of hard work was put to the test Thursday at Douglas High, as the 50 members of the Tigers varsity football program kicked off the 1999 season with non-contact, double-days workouts.

Head coach Mike Rippee was happy not only with the numbers, but also with the conditioning the players did during the break.

“This is probably the most kids I’ve had, maybe ever,” said Rippee, who is entering his 15th year as the DHS head coach. “And all 50 of these guys committed to the summer weights program. It wasn’t required, but they know if they don’t do the work they won’t be able to earn a starting position.

“Our philosophy is: Hard work pays off.”

The season started bright and early Thursday with the Tiger Run, which involves two 300-yard shuttles and a 400-meter dash. Different time limits were set for the different positions. Only five of the 50 players didn’t make their times, Rippee said.

“I think they’re in pretty good shape, but we can get in better shape,” the coach said. “With this group, we can win a lot of games in the third and fourth periods.

“With the numbers we have and the people pushing each other, they’re motivating each other. It’s been good already, but we can get better every day. That’s what we’re looking for.”

The Tigers will start full-contact practices on Monday. After just five days in the pads, Douglas will play host to Reed High on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. Reed is expected to be one of the top Division I teams this fall.

The Tigers will open the season Friday, Aug. 27, against another Division I power – McQueen High on the Lancers’ field.

Rippee also said more than 40 players came out for junior varsity practice Thursday and 40 to 50 players practiced with the freshman team.

“This is probably the most we’ve ever had in the program,” he said. “We’ve had a great turnout.”