Coach hopes training facility opens in mid-July

Mike Tupa
Functionality will be a key component of the new Pawhuska High School weightroom, which will include eight different stations each equipped for a maximum workout experience.

Sweat is sweat.

But, for Pawhuska High School student-athletes — particularly football players — the sweat might feel a little sweeter once the Huskies take up permanent residence in their new palace of pain and house of gain.

If all goes optimal, Huskie head football coach Joe Tillman said he hopes the new weightroom will be open by mid-July.

“We have our fingers crossed,” the second-year Pawhuska coach said. “Our kids can see it over there and can’t wait. It’s like a T-bone steak on the other side of the glass — they see it’s there but they can’t get to it.”

Meanwhile, the number of bodies showing up for Summer Pride — even at the old sweatbox … er weightroom … is mushrooming, Tillman said.

“We had 27 kids on Thursday,” he noted. “That’s the highest number we’ve had in quite some time.”

He expects the cutting edge lifting facility to be a magnet for even more candidates.

“This will be a recruiting tool to be able to help us,” he said, adding today’s youth generation gravitates toward fancier digs. “We’ll have a lot of kids who will want to go into the weightroom.”

The modern workout building measures 9,000 square feet, half of which is reserved for lockerroom space.

The rest will be used for conditioning, including eight individual stations — courtesy of Oklahoma State — at which athletes can do multiple exercises.

The room will be all orange and black and decorated with a large Huskie paw print, Tillman added.

Meanwhile, a handful of Pawhuska players have been sharpening their skills at football camps.

Quarterback candidate Brian Jeffers has attended a couple of the these opportunities — one at Missouri State, the other at Northeastern State.

Incoming sophomore quarterback Cade McNeill attended the National Football Academy camp, which drew top-notch signal callers from several states, including Nebraska, Kentucky, Colorado, Maryland and elsewhere.

“I’m just really proud of him (McNeill), they way he jumped in there and competed,” said Tillman. “He said to me he threw more footballs in two days than he had all his life. … It was amazing. I’m not a quarterback coach, but I came out with knowledge how I can help the quarterbacks.”

The Pawhuska season is set to open Aug. 25 when Kellyville visits Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.

Last year, Pawhuska crunched Kellyville, 35-0 — but then the young, and the low-numbered Huskie squad finished 1-7 in its next eight games.

Another strong performance this season against Kellyville — and a competitive effort against second-week foe Morrison, which won last year’s game 30-12 — would be a promising barometer for the Huskies.

Tillman expects both Kellyville and Morrison to run Wing-T offenses.

“We’ll be preparing for the Wing-T,” he said simply and with an air of conviction.

Before then, Pawhuska footballers will have a max-out lifting session for the bench, power clean and squat lifts.

“(The Huskies) are excited to max,” said Tillman. “There’s some excitement about that in the new weightroom.”