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Pops ahead of schedule
Dylan Schwitz (13) tries to block Drew Nafzger during a one-on-one drill Tuesday at Monroes preseason football camp.
MONROE - The high school football practice official start date is two weeks away, but the Cheesemakers found some time to strap on the shoulder pads and hear some pops this week.

"It's good to get kids out here. They're excited and ready for football," Monroe head coach Curt Miller said Tuesday evening on the practice football field. "(To hear the pops) in the summertime, it wakes you up and gets you ready to go."

Monroe started a four-day camp Sunday which concludes today. Players from all three high school levels took part in conditioning and schematics during the camp. On Tuesday, the players participated in hitting drills.

"A lot of kids have put in a ton of time this offseason in the weight room, going to passing leagues and football camps - all that stuff," Miller said. "It feels good to get them out here."

Last season - Miller's second at the helm - the Cheesemakers finished the season just 2-7 overall and 1-5 in conference. The year before Monroe was a game out of the playoffs - a destination the Cheesemakers look to return to for the first time since 2003.

"When camp starts, everybody is geared up and ready to go," Miller said. "We are a long ways away from seeing how everything is going to shake out."

Not everybody was at the training camp practices. Players are not required at camp until the first day of practice. The WIAA doesn't allow practice to officially begin until Aug. 10.

According to Miller, the players received their helmets, pads and other equipment during lifting hours throughout the summer. Miller hopes the early start will get rid of some of the early-season jitters.

"It helps a little bit. It takes some of the kids' minds away from getting real scared from the first couple days, and two-a-days," Miller said. "It's nice to get them out here and thinking (about) football."