Wissahickon taking awork-first mentality
LOWER GWYNEDD — The month of August is a pivotal span of practices, team meetings, and weight lifting training for any high school football program.
In the months prior, players are busy getting their bodies acclimated for the repetitive clashing of forces and their neurons readied for the bevy of schemes from offensive and defensive playbooks.
Every player and coach knows that when mid-month hits, when training camp gears up and freshly-cut grass football fields become the majority of daily existence for the next two-plus weeks, a clean slate can be the best remedy after falling short the previous year.
Wissahickon head coach Jeff Cappa knows the feeling.
After taking over the program three years ago and entering his fourth season at the helm of the Trojans, Cappa and staff will continue to discipline a rising squad ready to have another go at qualifying for district playoffs.
Take two years ago, when the Trojans capped off a historical 8-4, 6-2 (SOL American) season with their first-ever district playoff win over No. 1-seeded Downingtown East, the men of Troy had become a formidable opponent.
But after a 2013 season where the team went 6-4 and 5-2 in conference play, falling short of the playoffs was a tough pill to swallow.
“Last year’s team there was some disappointing parts of the year. However, we finished really strong… We won five of our last six games,” Cappa explained.
“After we have changed the expectation, we don’t even talk about last year’s games or teams. We are moving forward 100 percent and our kids know that and our kids have really bought into that.
“We told our team that those losses came from not working hard enough.”
Not working hard enough is a trait that Cappa and Co. won’t tolerate in the locker room. Athletic ability aside, personalities play a major role in the makeup of Wissahickon’s chemistry.
“We changed a lot of our philosophies in the offseason,” Cappa said. “We kicked a few guys off the team that weren’t buying into the way we were doing things.
“We’re holding every player accountable on and off the field.”
Resilience, too, and the ability for players to bounce back when faced with adversity is a desired quality from a coaching standpoint.
“What I’m looking forward to is a team that’s re- silient,” Cappa said.
“They faced failure in the offseason and they’ve got to learn how to bounce back from those things.”
From the gym, to the practice field, to the meeting room, the agenda on the Wissahickon campus is to always show up to practice with a work-first mentality.
“It’s a tough thing to do at a school like Wissahickon,” Cappa explained. “Being a AAAA school, we’re really small numbers-wise so our guys really fight be- cause they go both ways and a lot of them go three ways because they’re on special teams as well.
“We got some really tough kids, so it’s just a matter of them learning what it takes.”
Giving all you’ve got can be the fine line between winning and losing games in any sport. But leaving it all out on the field and shredding any ounce of doubt that you didn’t give it your all can be the difference between falling short of goals and expectations, and competing for a shot at a conference championship and playoff berth.
“I’m trying to get the guys to realize go 100 mph,” Cappa said.
“You should be exhausted after three, four, five plays. You should be if you’re going as hard as you can.
“So that’s what we’re really pushing.”
Coach Jeff Cappa talks Jason Caso during football practice.