Prep football: Hoover duo playing in national events
The recently concluded three-week practice period for West Virginia high school athletes was a chance for younger, up-and-coming players to gain valuable experience before their respective sports begin this coming school year.
But for a pair of seasoned Herbert Hoover football players, the period provided a much-needed conditioning period in the summer heat.
That extra conditioning will certainly help junior receiver Tim Hopkins and sophomore lineman Adam Bailey as they represent the Mountain State as players on the USA Football National Under-17 (Hopkins) and Under-16 teams (Bailey).
The two traveled to Charlotte in mid-April for tryouts.
Hopkins, a 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, is in the midst of his experience as a member of the Silver team while practicing and playing in Austin, Texas.
The camp opened July 6, on the campus of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, and will conclude after games Friday afternoon.
"So far it's been fun," Hopkins said Tuesday after a full day of workouts. "There are a lot of good players here and a lot of intensity on the field because we realize we're playing for the United States of America."
Bailey's team will begin its work Saturday at Dartmouth University in Massachusetts and will run through July 19.
Bailey, a 6-4, 250-pound tackle and defensive end, is looking forward to his opportunity to represent the school on a national stage.
"I was lucky to make it," Bailey said of his selection to the squad, which consists of 100 players from across the nation. "I was really happy when I was selected, but I was mostly honored to be able to represent my school and my state.
"I'd like to go there and have fun, that's the main thing, but I'd also like to try to learn a few things and maybe get my name out there a little."
Herbert Hoover Coach Tim Meyer has no doubt that the pair will represent the Huskies and the state well.
"I'm extremely proud of them," Meyer said. "Both of them work so hard for us. They never miss any workouts, they're up here all the time, they're leaders and they get excited about playing the game. It's great to see kids excited about playing football."
Meyer is equally impressed off the field.
"You can't match their character," he said. "Both kids are very intelligent young men and extremely hard workers. I can't go on enough about what great young men they are. They're just fantastic to be around. Their work ethic is unmatched."
While at the camps, the players will participate in scheduled developmental sessions that include 7-on-7 competitions, situational scrimmages, team meetings and "corrective" practices.
Off-the-field activities are highlighted by Bailey's team's trip to the New England Patriots complex July 18.
Hopkins and Bailey are the second and third Huskies players to make the squad, following junior Trenton Mahan, who played in Austin last summer.
For Mahan, the experience was a positive one that he recommends.
"They'll definitely learn a lot down there and matchup against some pretty good players from all over the country," Mahan said. "They're going to experience a lot and play against a lot of talent.
"There's good talent around here but it's just on a different scale there."