Valley football ends spring camp

Published 9:11 am Thursday, May 20, 2021

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Throughout the offseason, Valley head football coach Adam Hunter and his coaching staff have been preaching toughness to their team, trying to get them ready for a grueling 6A schedule this year. To get ready for the season, Valley went back to a physical spring camp, going seven-on-seven in practice and full contact most days.

Now at the end of spring camp, Hunter feels like the Rams got better with the physicality heading into the summer.

“I think we had a really good spring. We put some kids in spots to see if they could play,” Hunter said. “We had some kids step up. We saw some things that we can build on, but we also saw some things that we could get better at going into the summer and things that we could work on going into the fall that will help us be ahead of the curve and not behind. I think the spring was very productive. I think it was a very physical spring. I think the kids responded well to that. We had some kids that had to play through a little bit of pain, and that is something that we wanted to set that tone and make it a physical spring.”

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Heading into the spring, Valley had to figure out several key positions that had been locked down for the past three years by the graduating seniors, most notably inside linebacker and the secondary.

One player that had a progressive spring for the Rams was sophomore Cam Dooley, who was working at both safety and quarterback.

“I think Cam Dooley stepped up big time as far as taking on that role of quarterback and playing some safety for us. He was really aggressive for us and flew around to the ball on defense. He threw the ball well and commanded the offense well,” Hunter said. “There’s some stuff that we can use in our offensive package. This summer will be big for him if he can develop as a quarterback.”

Cameron Mclemore was another player that Hunter expects to fill one of the safety roles.

“Cameron Mclemore, he came on as a player for us,” Hunter said. “He really flew around at safety and outside linebacker for us. He’s a really aggressive player. His size doesn’t show his ability, aggressiveness and toughness. He had a really good spring, and I’m proud of that kid.”

Overall, the defensive and offensive lines are going to be more improved as well, as the Rams are expecting to bring back most of the players from last year. Jay Brown and Marquie Madden are two players that Hunter expects will have big seasons this fall.

Along with the secondary starting to form into shape, the inside linebacker group is coming along, following the lead of rising juniors Izaya Robinson and Quen Story.

“I think filling in for our secondary and inside linebacker group. I think it was huge for us to see if we could put some players [in those spots] and move them around. Izaya Robinson is one of those guys that stepped up this spring to lead the defense, him and Quen Story. Those two stepped up and commanded the inside linebacker group. We wanted to see them and see how they could respond and fill those spots.”

Along with looking for the starters, the Valley coaching staff put players in different positions that could be backups by the start of the fall season. The spring gave the coaching staff confidence in some of those backups, giving them potentially bigger roles once the season begins.

Unfortunately, Valley had a late start to spring camp due to the weather and finished prematurely, completing seven of the 10 planned days due to a positive COVID-19 test.

“It really isn’t a big blow to us. We got seven days in,” Hunter said. “We got accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished. There’s no sense going through the spring when we’re not playing anyone, and this could spread like wildfire.”