After a relatively laid-back June and two weeks off for the Arkansas Activities Association-mandated dead period, Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustangs are back at work at Mustang Mountain preparing for the fall.
Football coach Tommy Shoemaker said June featured thrice-weekly workouts but that coaches encouraged their charges to schedule any camps, mission trips or family vacations for that month.
The Mustangs have participated in one 7-on-7 event, the Sonic Air Raid at Harding Academy on June 7, and played host to a team camp that included Little Rock Christian, Pottsville and Glen Rose prior to the dead period. They’ll play host to another one Thursday with Little Rock Christian, Pottsville and Greenbrier at 6 p.m. on the soccer practice field at Mustang Mountain.
"The gate will be open and people can come in and see what we look like," Shoemaker said. "It’s essentially 11-on-11."
The four teams will play a rotating scrimmage.
"All four will be playing at the same time on one half of the field," he said.
Following the dead period, the school’s Fastang program, a school-wide strength and conditioning program for boys and girls from seventh through 12th grade, started July 7. It will run through July 28.
So far, so good with preparations for the fall, Shoemaker said.
"No surprises so far," he said. "I’ve been real pleased with how the kids came back from the two-week dead period. We don’t ease them into anything, but they’ve handled it really well. I’ve been pleased with their effort and work ethic, and we’re getting good leadership out of our seniors.
"The thing I liked the most out of the Sonic Air Raid was getting a lot of reps. We’ve got a lot of younger kids, especially in the secondary, but we got better throughout the day. I felt good about that as we left."
The Fastang program has drawn about 125 Mustang athletes Monday through Thursday for three stations of work: mobility warm-up, including stretching with "a lot of movement" using hurdles and rope ladders, among other things; weight room; and speed, agility and conditioning on the track.
"This is our big time to get conditioned for football so we can come into August and know everybody’s in shape," Shoemaker said. "It’s a very high priority for us for a long of reasons, but especially for getting them acclimated to the heat and for safety. We want them to be in good shape and ready to go."
Fastang is being run by the football staff as well as Matt Hall, boys basketball coach, and Weston Jameson, a recent Harding University graduate who will work under Hall and with junior high football.
"Matt is a big believer in strength and conditioning and really pushes his guys in the weight room to get better," Shoemaker said. "It’s really been a good thing."
Official football drills will begin Aug. 4.