Sports

Elba Tigers are hard at work

Ricky Mularz
Sports Editor

Thursday, Jul 06,2017

The Elba Tigers wrapped up their summer workouts for the month of June last week and head football coach Ed Rigby reported his team is working hard in preparation for the upcoming season.
“We have had a great month of workouts and all the players and coaches are dedicated and determined to making sure we will be ready when we kick off a new season in just a couple of weeks,” said Coach Rigby. “We have been working four days a week since the first of June and the numbers are outstanding. We have the most players taking part in summer drills since I got here, and we expect to dress out the largest number of players on the varsity level in many years. Having a large group of players at workouts helps to push the entire team to work even harder, and that has us all excited.”
“In June we worked primarily on getting bigger, faster and stronger,” added Rigby, in his fifth season at Elba High. “All the players put in long hours in the weight room getting stronger and working on specific exercises for the positions they will play, and also went outside and did a lot of running both for conditioning and to get faster. The long distance running is great to test endurance, but we also spend a lot of time working on a player’s takeoff and explosion at the snap of the ball. Here at Elba we utilize our quickness off the ball on offense and to the ball on defense as an advantage over our opponents, and we do spend a lot of time on exploding off the ball.”
“Rules prevent coaches from working outside with players when it comes to running plays and other team related items,’ said Rigby, “but we have excellent leadership from our seniors and returning players and are confident that the time spent away from the coaches is time well used. Our players do spend time running plays, running pass routes and working on coverage in the secondary on defense, but the majority of the time the players are on their own, and that is another way we develop leadership and trust in our players. The Elba City School system sponsors a summer feeding program for the youth of the community, and on the four days we work out all the players arrive early to eat a good breakfast and then stay to eat lunch. Nutrition is a key element to the success of an athlete, and we are lucky in that for four days a week all our players get a nutritious meal at both breakfast and lunch.”
“The players got the week of July 4th off to have a little time away from workouts and to rest,” added Rigby, “but we will get right back to work the next week and begin to work on other things as the season nears. It will be very important for us to get in as much as possible and to get the most out of every minute in July, because school starts August 7 here in Elba, which is earlier than some surrounding schools, and the early start will cut into our preseason drills. High school teams can put on the pads in August in Alabama, and while we will also get to work in full pads as soon as allowed, other teams will be conducting two-a-days while we will be in class. We will go out after school and will get to monitor our student-athletes more since they are in school, but instead of being able to practice twice a day, we will only get to practice once. This could make a difference early in the season, but we will do the best we can do and just work a little harder when we are together.”
“Right now it looks like we will have more depth than we have in years and have a solid group of athletes in all three grades on the varsity level,” said Rigby. “We have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years and will have a target on our backs every time we take the field. However, we know that if we are prepared we will have a shot at another big year, and we will all do our best to make certain that happens. We are excited and hopefully our fans will be able to join in that excitement in just a matter of weeks.”
Elba will compete in the preseason 2A Southeast Showdown on Aug. 25, at G.W. Long, while the regular season will begin Sept. 1, against Pike County, in Brundidge.

Photo: Elba Tiger head football coach Ed Rigby (left) watches as players gather around a teammate to provide encouragement during a workout in the weight room. The Tigers have been hard at work for over a month in preparation for the upcoming high school football season.