High school football practice doesn't officially start in Massachusetts until Monday but about 60 to 70 Boston public school players got things going a little early on Saturday afternoon at the Boston Scholar Athletes program football combine.
Woburn-based Athletic Evolution conducted the combine for the second straight year at the Kroc Center in Dorchester. The players tested their ability in the 40-yard dash, pro agility, max vertical touch, broad jump, 60-yard shuttle and finished the day with a pushup test. About 35 student-athletes also took advantage of the opportunity to have a free physical.
"I hope they get a little excited knowing that football starts Monday for them," said Erik Kaloyanides, who founded Athletic Evolution in 2005 after playing at Reading High and Syracuse University. "Honestly this is more for the future because there is not much they can do about it now. So if they are not happy with their speed or strengths or whatever it may be, hopefully they’ll utilize this for next year and we’ll see even bigger numbers at our BSA fit series that we do with the BSA all summer long.
"I think that that’s probably the main goal, get excited for football but then understand that if they are not happy where they are at they have an opportunity to improve next year."
Kaloyanides said the players would walkaway from the combine with a printout of their results so they know what areas they need to improve.
Getting pumped up for the season wasn’t a problem for Dorchester senior running back and linebacker, Dale Cooper, who helped the Bears make it to the Division 5 Super Bowl last year.
"I feel like I’m already into the season," he said, "and the season hasn’t started yet."
Several BPS coaches were on hand to watch the combine, including West Roxbury coach Derek Wright, who had about eight or nine players participating.
"I just want them to get the exposure," Wright said. "See what the other athletes are doing and see what they are up against in terms of competition and so on and so forth. More to open their eyes to what’s out there."
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