The midday sun was hot as some parents and even a couple players during a water break found shade under the bleachers at the Lutheran High School football field in Parker. It’s still the off-season …
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The midday sun was hot as some parents and even a couple players during a water break found shade under the bleachers at the Lutheran High School football field in Parker.
It’s still the off-season for high school football, but it’s also the time for players to review the basics, improve strengths, work on weaknesses and do a little fine-tuning.
Many players and teams attend a variety of camps and clinics, and some hire private coaches.
Each Sunday a group of quarterbacks and wide receivers gets together during a Jenkins Elite training session under the tutelage of a group of former college players to sharpen physical and mental skills for the upcoming season.
Kenneth Saunders, who will be a senior quarterback at Douglas County, completed less than 50 percent of his passes last season.
He claims his confidence has been restored thanks to the Sunday workouts.
“I played quarterback until I got to high school and I didn’t play quarterback my first couple years,” explained Saunders. “I came back and everything was rusty. I always said I knew where to throw the ball, I just couldn’t get it there.
“I wasn’t comfortable, and when you’re not comfortable throwing the ball it is hard to have comfort in the rest of your game. Coming here has helped me gain the comfort.”
Cherry Creek quarterback Alex Padilla, who has verbally committed to play at Iowa, was the second leading Class 5A passer in the state as he threw for 2,678 yards and 40 TDs last season.
Padilla has been fine-tuning his game this summer and has worked before with Jenkins Elite CEO and founder Tim Jenkins.
“I’ve been training with Tim since I was in the seventh grade,” said Padilla. “He has helped me with the mental side of the game and cleaning up the mechanics but it’s been more of the mental side of the game that has helped me a lot.”
Matt Francis, a senior at Horizon, has been hampered by injuries and claims he is learning something every training session after seeing limited action a year ago.
“The most basic thing is completions and consistency,” said Francis. “That’s what we come here every week to work on. That’s the biggest goal for me to take away from Sundays.
“Everyone here has a pretty good base to start with. For a quarterback there is a whole new world of biomechanics and footwork drills and everything to perfect your game.”
Cherry Creek wide receiver Marcus Miller says he absorbs what he observes from other athletes in the camp.
“You can see what they are doing and kind of incorporate it into your game,” said Miller. “You can pick up off everybody else.”
Jenkins, the former ThunderRidge and Fort Lewis quarterback who was on NFL and CFL rosters, never had the opportunity to incorporate what he needed and wanted to make sure young players understand the advantages and pitfalls of the different levels when he founded Jenkins Elite.
“I felt I got overlooked a little bit,” said Jenkins. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to know going from level to level. When I got let go with the Rams, I just decided this is probably the best way to correct a little bit of that.”
Any description of a student athlete should probably include the name of Clara Larson.
Larson, the 2015 Colorado Community Media South Metro Softball Player of the Year from Douglas County, is an electrical engineering student at Colorado School of Mines and has made the dean’s list for the past two years.
She is a shortstop on the softball team and hit .425 during her sophomore season with a .839 slugging percentage, 15 home runs, 24 doubles and a single-season school record of 64 runs batted in.
Larson was a first-team all Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection, the team’s Most Valuable Player, and garnered three All-American softball honors, plus the college sports information directors named her to the Academic All-America team.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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