Buzz from the Hive

New col­umn gives in­sider’s look at Yel­low­jacket foot­ball

Newark Post - - Front Page - By JON BUZBY jon­buzby@hot­

The Ne­wark Yel­lowjack­ets just com­pleted their first week of pre­sea­son prac­tice, capped off with a scrim­mage on Satur­day. Head coach Barry Zehn­der said he has learned a lot about the ap­prox­i­mately 50 play­ers who came out for the team, as well as a few things about himself.

Four things he learned about his play­ers …

1. “They are very hard work­ing, with­out a doubt The new stuff we are putting in – a new of­fense, a new de­fense, new spe­cial teams stuff – they are work­ing ex­tremely hard try­ing to pick that up.

2. “They are 100 per­cent on board with be­com­ing the lead­ers of the school and try­ing to be a pos­i­tive thing for the com­mu­nity to see that there are good things go­ing on at Ne­wark High School.”

3. “I feel like they all get along. A lot of times you get the classes, like ju­niors or se­niors, hang­ing out by them­selves. But this group is re­ally com­ing to­gether and mix­ing to­gether and they all seem to get along very well.

4. “The ex­cite­ment is there. Th­ese kids are ex­cited about what we are do­ing and how we are go­ing about things. The wins haven’t been there the last few years and it’s easy to not get ex­cited but they’ve put that aside and are fo­cused on this year.”

What the head coach learned about himself …

“There are things you want to pull from every pro­gram you’ve been a part of,” he said of his play­ing days and pre­vi­ous stops as a coach. “You want to pull all those things and im­ple­ment them now, but I re­al­ized quickly you have to make your team feel that they are part of what you are in­stalling and that they feel like they own it and feel good about it as play­ers.

“I’ve al­ways been kind of a more se­ri­ous coach. I’ve never been a jovial, jok­ing per­son but I’ve tried to make my­self bet­ter at be­ing a lit­tle more loose and try­ing to cre­ate some more easy go­ing re­la­tion­ships.”

Satur­day’s first scrim­mage ...

Ne­wark’s first of two scrim­mages was Satur­day against a Tat­nall team that fin­ished 6-4 last sea­son and lost only one starter from that team. Over­all, Zehn­der was pleased with his team’s ef­fort.

“We’ve been im­ple­ment­ing a lot of com­pe­ti­tions at prac­tice,” he ex­plained. “At the scrim­mage, it jumped out to me that that has worked. Things like not every play is go­ing to go your way but how do you re­spond when it doesn’t go your way and other things like that. The non­starters com­peted, which I like see­ing. We’ve talked a lot about com­pet­ing and they’ve re­ally re­sponded to that.”

Com­ing up this week ...

Un­like most teams, Ne­wark has elected to not scrim­mage this week and in­stead use the week to “re­ally get af­ter it,” ac­cord­ing to Zehn­der. And then on Satur­day, Ne­wark will have an in­tra-squad scrim­mage that they are terming a “com­pete for your job” scrim­mage. They will then treat the third week of pre­sea­son just like a game week head­ing into the scrim­mage against St. El­iz­a­beth on Sept. 1.

A new lead­er­ship team ...

Off the field, Zehn­der has cre­ated a lead­er­ship coun­cil. Two mem­bers of that coun­cil are se­niors Tyreek Booker and Brian Sut­ton.

“Brian is one of the hard­est work­ing kids I have ever coached,” Zehn­der said. “He is also a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our pro­gram and Ne­wark High School.

Booker, he said, is start­ing to re­al­ize his po­ten­tial.

“He has a very good chance for some­body to of­fer him a schol­ar­ship to play at the next level,” Zehn­der said. “He is al­ways en­cour­ag­ing his team­mates and is be­com­ing re­spected be­cause of his de­meanor, not just his abil­i­ties.”

Play­ing for the tra­di­tion ...

Booker is a two-way tackle who has earned a var­sity let­ter all three years.

“I love play­ing for Ne­wark be­cause of the tra­di­tion,” Booker said. “I al­ways wanted to play for Coach Simp­son and in front of alumni that came through Ne­wark. This tra­di­tion has had many great play­ers come through this foot­ball pro­gram and when I’m done play­ing for Ne­wark I want to be known as one of the great play­ers in Coach Simp­son’s last years as head coach and Coach Zehn­der’s first year as head coach at Ne­wark. I love play­ing for Ne­wark foot­ball and walk­ing out of The Hive pumped up on Fri­day nights. There’s noth­ing like it.”

Sut­ton echoed the thoughts about tra­di­tion.

“I love play­ing for Ne­wark be­cause of the tra­di­tion be­hind it,” said Sut­ton, who plays run­ning back and line­backer. “You are not only play­ing for your­self out there on Fri­day nights, you play for ev­ery­one who has come be­fore you and ev­ery­one who comes af­ter you. You can ask any alumni, and they will say the same thing about the tra­di­tion of Ne­wark foot­ball.”

The play­ers’ thoughts on this year’s team ...

“This year’s Ne­wark foot­ball team might not be the big­gest or the strong­est like in years past, but I feel that we are go­ing to play hard and with a lot of heart,” Booker said. “This year’s team wants to learn and get bet­ter. I feel that this year’s Ne­wark foot­ball team can make things hap­pen and win games this year.”

“I think our team this year will shock a lot of peo­ple be­cause no one ex­pects any­thing from us this year,” Sut­ton said. “Our line this year isn’t the big­gest or strong­est in the state but they will be the most tech­ni­cally sound. Our re­ceiv­ing core has great speed and hands and our run­ning backs run hard and will fight for every yard. We have a very solid de­fense that is very phys­i­cal and flies to the ball every play. The whole team and coaches be­lieve that we will have a very good year this year.”

Next up ...

Ne­wark has an in­trasquad scrim­mage on Satur­day af­ter­noon, open to the pub­lic. The sec­ond and fi­nal scrim­mage is Sept. 1 at home against St. El­iz­a­beth. See Ne­wark’s com­plete sched­ule at www.yel­low­jack­etss­ports. com.

The Buzz from the Hive will be posted on­line each Mon­day morn­ing dur­ing the high school foot­ball sea­son and also in Fri­day’s print edi­tion. It will in­clude some game anal­y­sis and ex­clu­sive quotes from Ne­wark High foot­ball coach Barry Zehn­der and se­lect mem­bers of the team af­ter they’ve had a chance to watch game film, eval­u­ate their per­for­mance, and be­gin prepa­ra­tion for the next game.

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