The Hopewell Junior High football team was back on the practice field last night preparing for the start of the season.
The focus by head coach Craig Bokor and his staff was one instillation of plays and making sure they were run properly and at game speed tempo.
It was fun watching Bokor call out the offensive plays and even more impressive to see how all the players knew exactly what to run. That’s a sign of how prepared they are and the work they’ve put in prior to these practices.
HSN had a lengthy interview on Wednesday with Bokor and here’s part two of that conversation. Yesterday, Bokor talked about the preparation to this point and how’s things are getting geared now towards all football.
The other subjects we got into were changes they’d like to make, what their offensive identity will be and some players that he and his staff will be counting on heavily in 2023.
“As a staff, we got back and look at what we ran that didn’t work, what should we have called, what we should have maybe made a little easier for the kids and is it as simple as pick ten plays that work, run them and run them perfectly,” said Bokor. “We did a lot of reflection on that and looked at where we had kids playing. We definitely want to establish a more up-front running game with our offensive line. We want to see how we can run things that make it easier for the kids.”
“We also want to see how the varsity team is running things so that we can have synergy between the two programs. So, as the kids move up, they’ll know exactly what the terminology is, and they can step right in. That helped over the summer. I think we have to look at our approach as coaches as well. Let’s coach them up when they need coached up and let’s let them just play when necessary. We don’t need to give a 20-minute speech after every mistake. Another change we need was that we got started a little earlier. Last year, we were all new to the junior high, so we didn’t know exactly when we could start and what the rules were. Getting the kids in the gym earlier, in the weight room earlier and getting them the playbooks earlier and in front of the board earlier are big changes from last year.”
Bokor is a former standout lineman at Hopewell that when on to play for the Pitt Panthers, so it wasn’t a big surprise to hear him talking about the identity he plans on having offensively.
“Our physical identity, we’re still going to be, it’ll show up in a couple of weeks when we put the pads on,” said Bokor. “We live out of the spread but we’re more of a power spread. We wanna run the football, we have a lot of talent in our skill positions so we’re going to utilize that and get the ball out there, but we want to put our hand in the ground and get off the ball. The first play when we play will be a running play and it will be power. So, it will be up to them to stop us. That’s how we’re coming out of the games.”
“In terms of players, Brody Rock is our starting running back, he had to sit out last season and we missed him. We missed is presence and he makes us a ton better. We have such a 1-2 punch, actually a 3-4 punch back there because we have Jack Biega who runs faster than, if he catches the corner on the outside, he’s very speedy. Then we have James Armstrong our quarterback, who can run, throw, jump, he can do whatever.”
We also have Trey Cameron on the outside, another big-time speed guy. He actually looks like he floats when he runs. We Trey is on, Trey is on, he’s a very good player. Maddox Fatore, he’s going to work our slot. He probably had the most improvement from the end of the winter to the summer, till now. He’s been our most improved player. He’s been very impressive. We moved Avery Bokor from the Z to the X position, meaning he’s more of an inside receiver now. He’s very, very talented with his hands. We want to get him the ball over the middle more. That will make the spread better, getting the ball to someone over the middle for 5 yards, having it be just like a run gain. If it’s up there, Avery is going to get it. Those are our older guys; those are our seniors at the junior high. Landon Matthews is another one, he plays tight end for us. He’s come such a long way. He’s taller, stronger, another kid with great hands, he’s also come along in the blocking area. We’re heavy on the skill and I’m excited to see how they develop.”
HOPEWELL FOOTBALL 2023 JUNIOR HIGH SCHEDULE
August 29 vs. Blackhawk
September 6 vs. Freedom
September 13 vs. Central Valley
September 20 at Ambridge
September 27 at Avonworth
October 5 at Quaker Valley
October 11 at Aliquippa