MAU ahead of schedule as practices start

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BENNINGTON — The hours couldn't go by any slower for Mount Anthony football coach Chad Gordon last night in preparation for what he had going on in the morning.

Monday morning signaled the return of high school football as the 30 programs across the state began practices ahead of the 2019 regular season that will kick off August 30.

"It's great to be back together with the guys and work officially. We've been working all summer going and lifting," said Gordon, who enters his third year at the helm of the Patriots. "I had trouble sleeping [last night]. It's like a kid on Christmas morning. I just couldn't wait to get going."

Monday's practice was about reacquainting the guys back to the game of football. Whether it was conditioning, key positional information or targeted work for each position, the Patriots were hard at work at the Vets Home Field on the hot summer morning.

In his third year and having so many starters back from last fall's 3-6 team, puts MAU ahead of where its been in years past on the opening day.

Guys already know the offense the Patriots will be running and a lot of the concepts that Gordon's teams subscribe to.

"We're able to run the same offense two years in a row," Gordon said. "Guys know what positions they should be at. Some guys are trying out some new positions and we're letting people feel where they're at. Every position is open, even though we're returning so many starters. It's good to see the guys competing."

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MAU, who will be in Division II for the third straight year, has right around 40 guys and a good mix of underclassmen and upperclassmen set to take the field this fall.

"We have a good mix of incoming freshmen," Gordon said. "Coach Gaudette did a real good job with last year at the middle school. I think they only lost one game."

The Patriots return a ton of talent, especially in their junior class. Caleb Hay seized the starting quarterback job last year and the two-headed running back duo of Jack Ware and Brody Bossong are both back as well. Gavin Johnson was one of Hay's biggest receiving targets last year and he's also back, among a host of other returners on both sides of the ball.

"We can do more early. Last year, it was just about laying a lot of basics," Gordon said. "We're able to jump right in. We don't have to teach how we want them to huddle and we don't have to re-teach the verbiage and the vocabulary. We're able to start running right away. I feel like we're further than we were Day 1 last year."

Looking at the weeks ahead, Gordon is optimistic about what this season holds after a strong first day.

"[Monday] was one the better opening practices that I've had from top to bottom," Gordon said. "We have a good group of guys and I'm excited."

MAU opens up the regular season against Spaulding at home on Spinelli Field on Friday, August 30.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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