By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor
CENTERVILLE - When Cannon County football players heard they were going to summer camp at the start of preseason practice they were elated.
After all, what could be better than swimming, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing and such right before the start of school?
But when the players arrived at Camp NaCoMe, located in Hickman County, they soon realized this four-day retreat would not be fun and games.
“It’s a lot of hard work but we got better as a team, that’s for sure,” senior Dalton Bean said. “We put in a lot of hours and we focused on getting our plays right and attention to detail.”
What about the fun part of camp?
“We had fun practicing football and getting closer as a team,” junior standout Ethan Smith said. “We didn’t go to camp to mess around. We went to try to become a better team.”
First-year Cannon County coach T.J. Daniel said the camp provided coaches and players with an opportunity to come together as a unit prior to the start of school, as well as focus on offense, defense and special teams with few distractions.
“The big thing was to get away and focus on football with limited distractions,” Daniel said. “We were able to accomplish that. We had several productive practices each day. Mental toughness is a big part of football and doing this helps with that aspect. When you are tired and having to fight through a tough practice, or series of practices, that’s when you develop mental toughness. I believe it was a good week for us. Most importantly, I believe we became closer as a team.”
The Lions stayed in cabins at Camp NaCoMe, where they were treated to three meals daily. When they weren’t at the dining hall, the Lions were eating, sleeping and breathing football with opportunities to work on their game throughout the day.
“We had a good time but it was a lot of work, too,” Bean said. “We had players get better individually and we improved as a team.”
The Lions have three weeks remaining before they open the season at Middle Tennessee Christian, Aug. 23.