The first burst of activity is well under way for the Blair Oaks football team. The second one will begin soon and shepherd in the season.
The Falcons wrapped up two weeks' worth of morning and evening workouts Wednesday and followed it up with a morning workout Thursday. They'll head to Sullivan today, as Sullivan High School holds its Inaugural Team Contact Camp.
"It's been all about fundamentals," said Blair Oaks coach Brad Drehle, whose team is coming off an appearance in last year's Class 2 state title game. "We're just getting in the basic components of our offense and defense."
The Falcons will follow that up with a trip to Branson on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Branson High School will host a team camp. Included in that are Jamboree and scrimmage periods that allow teams to run their offense and defense, and situational work that includes overtime, two-minute drill, red-zone and goal-line situations, along with first- and third-down scenarios.
Other than three 7-on-7 camp dates early in the summer, the Falcons have saved their contact days for closer to the beginning of the season.
"We feel the carryover for learning is better if we save it for the end of the summer," Drehle said. "And we also have so many kids who participate in two or three sports, they overlap in June for camps. So we try to let baseball and basketball get done before we start up."
After the Branson camp, the team will take off until two-a-days begin Aug. 12. That's when the team will begin the hard work of replacing the production of key players from last year's team, as the Falcons graduated 88 percent of their rushing yards, 86 percent of their passing yards, 64 percent of their receptions and 67 percent of their receiving yards.
"It's something that happens very year, especially at this school," Drehle said. "The kids who have contributed some now have the expectation of being a bigger contributor. They grow up wanting to be that guy and now it's their turn."
And it's not like the cupboard is completely bare.
"The fortunate thing was we got a lot of the sophomores playing time last year," Drehle said. "And they didn't just play, they contributed. Dominic Jamerson did some good things offensively, but defensively had a really good year (he was eighth on the team in tackles). And Caleb Bischoff, who will be one of our two running backs with Dominic, got time. And Mikel (Drehle) got to play offensively and defensively and Jordan Hair was our quarterback at the start of districts when Daniel Castillo was hurt. So they got reps."
Haydn Lock, Hayden Haney, Collin Luebbering and Corbin Singer have been elected team captains for the Falcons, who host a Jamboree on Aug. 23 before opening the season Aug. 30 at Moberly.