Local football fans were given a sneak preview of Pawhuska Huskie football talent last Tuesday evening during the second-annual "Night of Champions" at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.
The event marked the conclusion of the summer football training programs conducted for Pawhuska’s junior high and high school players. During June and July, members of the Huskie varsity grid program met two or three mornings each week for SPA (Speed-Power-Agility) workouts.
Later on those mornings, local seventh- and eighth-grader prospects held separate SPA sessions. Craig said he was especially pleased with this year’s junior-high turnout, which often involved more than 30 prospects.
Craig added that the summer training is aimed at benefiting all school athletes — not just football players.
Last week’s summer-ending event at the stadium was designed to serve several purposes, according to Craig.
"We like to show them what the kids have been doing and start getting everyone in the community ready for next football season," the veteran coach said.
Following weight-lifting exhibitions and other demonstrations of Huskie players’ speed and agility, the initial meeting of the new school year was conducted for the Pawhuska Quarterback Club. The Quarterback Club was organized decades ago to provide support for local sports-related activities.
"Assistance provided by the club is very important to the success of our teams," the PHS coach said. "I encourage everyone in the community to be involved with the organization’s activities — by doing so, they will be helping us on the field."
High school football practices will start for the 2014 season statewide on Monday, Aug. 11. After four days of limited workouts, full practices are allowed to begin on Friday, Aug. 15.
The Pawhuska football coach said fall practice times will be discussed with parents at a meeting set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the PHS locker room.
Earlier on Aug. 5, football equipment will be checked out to local seventh- and eighth-grade prospects. The check-outs are to take place at the locker room between 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Although junior high and jayvee games can begin on Sept. 1, the Oklahoma varsity football seasons kick off on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4-5.
PHS will be competing in state Class 2A, District 8, which includes previous opponents Caney Valley, Nowata, Chelsea and Oklahoma Union — plus new foes Commerce and Wyandotte. Former district rivals Adair and Chouteau will move to District 2A-7.
Post-season playoffs are slated to get going on Friday, Nov. 14.
This week, Craig will be actively involved with the Oklahoma All-State Games, which are held in conjunction with the annual convention and summer coaching clinics of the Oklahoma Coaches Association.
Featuring top recently-graduated prep athletes from around the state, the Games involve East-versus-West battles in golf, tennis, swimming, volleyball, baseball, wrestling, basketball and football.
The OCA Games take place at various Tulsa-area sports venues. Culmination of the week-long exhibitions comes with the All-State Football Game — which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. Friday kickoff at Bixby High School’s Spartans Stadium.
Craig served as OCA vice president last year and will be installed as the president of the organization during the Tulsa convention. The current OCA president is former Bartlesville High School coach Brad Farrow of Broken Arrow.