Experience paying dividends for Wolverines
BENTONVILLE — While most teams begin their preseason workouts Monday, Bentonville West coach Bryan Pratt used that day to get meetings with players and parents out of the way before the Wolverines hit the field Tuesday afternoon.
“Football has changed since I played a long time ago,” Pratt said. “Back then, you had the twoa-days and the all-days because you had so much stuff to get in before the season started.
“With all we do during spring ball and during the summer, it’s not like we haven’t done anything. You still have four weeks before your first scrimmage, so you have plenty of time to get things in. It’s a long grind, when you also add the length of the season.”
Things have been noticeably different as West begins its second season. Pratt said he notices a sense of maturity around his team that wasn’t there last season when everything was new.
Many Wolverines were getting their first taste of varsity action at this time last year, but the experience they earned from that inaugural campaign has carried over to this season.
“We talk about stacking good practices together,” Pratt said. “The more you can stack together, the better you are. Through the first three days, we’ve had high intensity practices, and we have a energetic team that is a little more focused than we were last year.”
West has slightly more than 100 players dressed out — compared to 70 at this time last year — but summer injuries have left their mark, particularly on the Wolverines’ defense. Linebackers Sebastian Caniglia, Hunter Swoboda and Levi Rutherford all are on the sidelines to begin fall drills.
Caniglia, West’s leading tackler last season, hopes to return during the second half of the season as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered at a Tulsa team camp, while Swoboda and Rutherford could be back before the season opener Sept. 1 against Pryor, Okla. Swoboda, a transfer from Pulaski Robinson along with his brother Tucker, was hurt during a combine in Little Rock, while Rutherford is recovering from offseason surgery.