Jul. 2—About a year ago, WHS coach Joe Morris had only seen his football team on Zoom calls and in a few weight room sessions. On July 6, 2020, as COVID restrictions began to lighten up, he finally got to see his team, a team that began to move the needle for the Hatchet football program and began to get people believing again.
Fast forward a year and there is a lot of excitement about where 2021 is headed. In 2020, fans bought tickets, wins filled the scoreboard and player numbers sky rocketed — all setting the table for this year.
And for Morris, he has a much better handle on what to expect — and he expects a lot for the program in its second season season under his positive outlook and enthusiasm.
Morris just completed his first youth skills camp, has been conducting workouts and weightlifting all spring, will be coaching in the North-South All-Star game and can't wait for the official start of practice on Aug. 2.
"We think this community is ready to be excited about football. We are going to have a team that represents the four corners of our community. We want everyone involved and I know that strong athletic programs lead to pride in the community and that is a great thing," said Morris.
Morris said that his numbers will be about the same this year.
"We hope to have about 65 on the roster are projecting about 50 in junior high and hopefully around 120 at the youth level," he added.
He feels that that program will be the keystone for future success and has become more involved in the direction it will be going.
"We just completed our youth skills camp and kids seemed to have a lot of fun, which was important. They were not only learning, but having a good time doing it," said Morris.
The camp was for k-6 and day one was a combine, day two was individual skills, followed by a punt, pass and kick contest and party on the last day. He said that the camp will hopefully dovetail with the youth season which begins in August.
"We want everyone involved. We will have scholarships, family discounts and payment plans available, so everyone can play," said Morris. "Go to playyouthfootball.com and you will receive a discount if you sign up before July 20."
Morris will be busy next week as he is a Region IX coach with the South All-Star game at Anderson University.
"I'm so honored to be a part of that in my first season as a coach. There is so much talent in the South, which actually includes all of those team basically south of Zionsville and Fishers," said Morris.
He will be joined on the South team by Hatchet quarterback Trey Reed, who will be a receiver on the roster, before heading to Indiana State for baseball next fall.
Morris is excited to get back on the field with his second team.
"I can't even tell you how much farther along we are this year. Last year was all about teaching and implementing our system, this year is about executing. Those kids coming back understand the explanations we have for them," said Morris. "Last year we were learning on the fly.
"We have done a lot of skills camp stuff and had some kids go to Midwest Football Academy. We have goals. We want a winning record, we want to win sectional championships and we want to do it sooner than later."
Youth players are reminded that they can sign up for Washington youth football the season at playyouthfootball.com.