With little to no cellphone reception — the nearest Wi-Fi miles away — and open campground for miles, the athletes had no distractions from the task at hand: football.
A total of 67 Seymour football players, freshmen through seniors, are at Scenic Hill Christian Camp in Mitchell for team camp this week.
The camp focuses on more than football workouts.
Story continues below gallery
“We’re building toughness and character in these four days,” fourth-year Owls head coach Josh Shattuck said. “There’s a lot of football, we instill a lot — but at the end of the day we want to come together as a team. At the end, we know that 67 guys came together to work on one goal.”
Each day is different at the camp, which started Monday and ends tonight.
When the players aren’t doing two- and three-a-days on a forest-turned-field in the woods, they’re studying their playbooks, conducting meetings, doing walkthroughs and participating in team-building exercises.
This summer, the Owls have used just four of their 12 days where they can wear pads to practice.
They will save two of those days for upcoming scrimmages, but most if not all the rest of the contact days take place at camp.
With participation numbers up, expecting 80 to 90 total kids on the rosters before the first game, the atmosphere is different at camp this summer.
“It’s an unbelievable difference, and it boils-down to the fact we have 18 seniors here at the camp,” Shattuck said. “It’s the most seniors we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve had 23 seniors graduate total since I got here, and there are 21 total on this year’s roster. It’s a huge difference not having most all the kids being 15 and 16 years old.”
Now, the Owls can focus on upcoming difficulties they prepare to face in-season.
“We’re trying to brainstorm some things that might throw a wrench into our season,” Shattuck said. “We want to prepare for those. Everything won’t be rainbows and butterflies.”
Incoming senior Nick Richert said the team came ready for the camp and has grown tremendously in just a few days.
Practices are starting early, with athletes on the field warmed-up before the coaches take the field.
“The team has really been coming together,” Richert said. “This time, right here, is where the bond grows stronger. We’re piecing it all together and coming together as a team.
“We’re away from everyone. There are no distractions. We get to focus on football away from the real world. We’re jacked for the season.”
Alan Perry, an incoming junior, will take the snaps under center for the third straight year for the Owls.
“We’ve got a lot of returning guys and a lot of the new guys are picking everything up,” Perry said. “For the guys that have played, it has come naturally to us. We’re in stride.
“I think we’re right on pace. It has been a rough summer in a good way. We’ve been really productive in the weight room and on the field.”
Shattuck said that “success breeds success,” and making it to the sectional championship game last year has created a buzz throughout the school.
Perry agreed with Shattuck on the reasoning behind the numbers increase.
“We know that we had some success last year, and we have rode it into the summer,” Perry said. “We’ve kept that positive energy and will bring it to the season.”