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White Plains Starts Preseason Football Practice

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The artificial turf at White Plains High School, quiet for most of the summer, was filled with football players Friday on the first official day of preseason varsity practice.

“We’re in pretty good shape. The guys have been doing offseason workouts since February and we have good numbers with 45 on the varsity,” said Tigers Coach Skip Stevens, who sported a Jets cap and was upbeat while guiding his players through first-day particulars. “We make sure we get everyone’s paperwork done and set to go. We have three days of just helmets, then pads. We’re ready to go.”

Section 1, the local scholastic public schools sports organization, opened its football practice season officially Friday, with Westchester teams out on the field for the first time. Varsity football teams must practice 11 days before taking part in scrimmages with other schools.

The local high school regular season begins on Friday, Sept. 9 with a dozen games. Most of the remaining teams open on Saturday, Sept. 10.

The Tigers were 6-3 last season and hope to compete at a high level the Section 1 Class AA. Returning players Lucas O’Shea, Kevin Yates, Jeffrey Avery and Jaeshon Brooks had just finished their morning laps and were looking forward to the afternoon session.

“We’re making sure everybody’s ready, conditioning and paperwork,” said Brooks, a starting running back. “It’s hard work, but it’s a necessity and when you know it will help the team better with everything that comes during the season, it’s fine.”

Avery said the team has experience and has prepared for the new season.

“We have a lot of returning skill players and we’re building our lines,” Avery said. “Everyone is in great position – the lineman and backs hit their running times and things are good so far.”

Yates, a running back, is looking to improve his strength for the long haul.

“Games will be long, four quarters non-stop action,” Yates said. “I want to improve my technique, speed, agility, hands. I’ll be lifting more to get stronger.”

O’Shea said he concentrates on focusing now to be ready for the season.

“I like to focus a sort of anger so I can be ready for the hard times and the games,” O’Shea said. “I think you have to develop the attitude that the games are demanding. The anger is just so I can come out steaming when the games start.”

The Tigers will host North Rockland on Sept. 16. in the season opener.

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