BOUNTIFUL — They gather early in the morning to lift weights. They gather in the late afternoon to run sprints. The gather to watch film, learn plays, share ideas, talk trash and just navigate life.
And as the days grow shorter, the air cooler, high school football players everywhere are energized by the endless opportunities of fall.
To kick off the 2010 season, the Deseret News will feature a video countdown of the top 20 prep football teams. The rankings were determined by pre-season polls, and the project offers fans a unique glimpse of the top teams.
Today's featured team is No. 11 Bountiful.
Larry Wall repeats one sentiment throughout practice. It also happens to be the one thing he hopes they do while playing football for the Braves.
"My number one goal is that they apply themselves," said Wall, the Bountiful head coach for 26 years. "I want them to do their best."
He reminds his players of this idea as he encourages them through drills and conditioning.
"Don't cheat yourself," he said as they sprint. "Do your best. Don't be satisfied with mediocrity. This is a chance of a lifetime. Don't let it slip by."
Like many high school coaches, he sees the game a the perfect way to prepare young men for the adversities most will face in life.
"I'm a little biased," he said. "I think football is the greatest game there is...You really have to rely on the guys next to you."
What he tries to impress up in his players is that if they don't give the game — or life — their best effort, they may regret it. There are not, afterall, a lot of county rec football leagues.
"This is kind of a once in a lifetime deal," he said.
Wall doesn't punish his players as much as he tries to find opportunities to praise them.
"We work as hard as anyone in the state," Wall said.