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August 13, 2005

Eastern NC School for the Deaf has smooth first week

From: Wilson Daily Times, NC - Aug 13, 2005

By Tom Ham

Sports Editor

Eastern N.C. School for the Deaf football candidates concluded a "smooth" first week of practice with a session that started at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and continued just past midnight.

"We don't have as many players as we would like to have," said Hornets' head coach Leonard Baker, "but it's going pretty good."

Baker reported that injuries and problems with the heat have been avoided, but admitted: "The kids were pretty sore (Thursday)."

The players were subjected to a pair of morning sessions Monday through Wednesday. They practiced again Thursday morning and, by extending the evening workout past midnight, it counted as two practices.

Thus, the 12 prospects were not required to deal with Friday's intense heat.

The Hornets compete in eight-player football, and Baker is optimistic the turnout will rise to 15 or 16. He contends that, if school had been in session when practice started, the number might be as high as 20. Registration is not scheduled until Aug. 21.

A couple of players that Baker expected to show have not been available because of work commitments.

"We have guys that are somewhat experienced and a lot that are inexperienced," Baker assessed the turnout. "Some of the new guys are going to help us on athletic ability alone."

The emphasis, as might be expected, has been upon conditioning and establishing the basic offense and defense. Baker anticipates contact work to begin next Thursday.

"We have seen a lot of good leadership _ a lot more than last year," ENCSD's head coach said of the positives. "And I think we are pretty quick.

"I think we can put a good starting group out there, but we don't have a lot of depth."

ENCSD, winless in 2004, kicks off its season on Thursday, Aug. 25, at Creswell.

"We'll have to push it to get ready, but we welcome the opportunity to play Creswell," Baker said. "They are a small school like we are, and the drive there is about an hour and 45 minutes — not seven or eight hours." | 265-7809

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