MAU focusing on basics ahead of summer workouts

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BENNINGTON — It won't be long until the crisp, autumn air starts to flow and the lights of Spinelli Field illuminate another football season for Mount Anthony.

In fact, they start August 30 against Spaulding — only 80 days away.

The Patriots began preparations for those autumn Friday nights with their first day of spring practice Monday afternoon.

Third-year MAU coach Chad Gordon was happy with the turnout for Monday's practice and the offseason lifting sessions. He feels optimistic heading into the team's summer conditioning program.

"[The season] comes quick. We've had a lot of guys playing spring sports and have 27 guys returning on the roster," Gordon said. "We've had a good group of guys together in the weight room, but now getting everyone back together was good. It's never too early to start the basics. We've got some guys who haven't played before, so there are some new faces."

In terms of roster numbers, the Patriots are about on par with where they were last year.

These early spring practices have a major focus of serving as a baseline to jump off of for MAU's summer program, seeing where guys are at physically to properly tailor their respective offseason efforts.

The team will go over specific offensive and defensive concepts in the coming days to get the group used to what they'll be running in the fall.

"Last year, we put in a new offense that we hadn't run in a while, so coming back with the same offense this year, it's easy to build off that," Gordon said. "We're just building that foundation with the basics."

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The Patriots are coming off a 3-6 season, which saw them pick up a pair of wins against Otter Valley, including in a Division II crossover, and one against Mount Abraham.

MAU loses some key seniors, among them lineman Ty Evans and wide receiver Cole Bushee, but does return a lot of key young pieces from that squad, especially at the skill positions.

Quarterback Caleb Hay will be back. The productive two-man running attack of Brody Bossong and Jack Ware is back and tight end/wide receiver Gavin Johnson returns as well.

"I'm excited for what we have coming back," Gordon said. "We have a lot of talent at the skill positions. This year's sophomores, or next year's juniors, is loaded with athletes."

A sophomore who has really stood out for Gordon throughout the off-season has been lineman Adam Matunas, who played a crucial role on the junior varsity team last year.

"I can count the number of days since January that he's missed in the weight room on one hand. He's put on a ton of muscle," Gordon said.

MAU starts its season at home with a matchup with Spaulding on August 30. The Patriots play six Division II games and a pair of matchups with rivals in Division I.

MAU plays newly-minted Division I Burr and Burton Academy on September 27 and Brattleboro for the Elwell Trophy on October 18.

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


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