There are just seven Weeks until the Pack meets up with their rivals Longview to kick off the 2017 football season. The team has been hard at work in their off season program and this week they have taken it to another level.
Head Coach Todd Quick has enlisted the help of the U.S. Army Recruiting Center in Lufkin to bring intense training to about 90 students from the middle school and high school.
"This is what we call 'Hell Week'," Quick said. "It is three days outside where we get the boys into three teams and run them through team building exercises."
This is the first year for an event like this.
"I have been coming up to the school for several years to recruit and I have just been talking to coach and wanted to do something like this with the team," U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Donnelly said. "On the first day we had guys getting frustrated, getting upset and arguing but I just told them that this was for them and for no one else and they wee a team. You want to see them out here now getting along and having a good time."
The summer workout program for Lufkin is voluntary. Most days, the students are inside lifting weights. There is no AC but there are fans to offer relief. For these three days, the only relief is a quick break under a tent and cool water.
"It's a lot of work but we're out here heading to the top," junior nose guard Carl Williams said. "We're out here trying to get used to [the heat] before the season starts."
The group of athletes have been divided into three groups. Each group has varying ages. It was something Quick wanted to use as motivation.
"We wanted the younger guys to see these older ones and realize they are all the same and all in this together," Quick said.
While the players may look tired, they will tell you that it comes with the territory.
"It's nothing different from what the coaches do to us," senior safety Savon Fields said. "They are just making sure we stay in a straight line and do everything they tell us to do."
The events are not about physical strength or conditioning. Quick wants a team of leaders that he can depend on to step up in crunch time.
"It's not age that puts you in front," Quick said. "It is how you work and how you communicate with the others."
The events will wrap up on Friday with a team bonfire and an obstacle course challenge.
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