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Irish Football: Racing towards the fall

The coaching staff for the Rosemount High School football team was trying to find ways to reward the participants of its summer programs.

Inspiration can come from many places. This time around it came from reality television.

The athletes have been working on weightlifting and football drills throughout the summer. This week, they got the chance to lighten things up.

The Irish put on their own "Amazing Race."

"Our guys work pretty hard," Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann said. "We do a retreat every other year and this is our off year. So, we plan a couple of fun activities. It's the first time we have done this. We wanted to just have a little fun. I think they guys had a blast. I know it was fun for us as coaches."

With the summer program coming to a close soon, Rosemount is in the midst of its weightlifting test-out week, and broke up the schedule with Wednesday's race.

Players were randomly split into teams and competed in 10 events.

After one partner competed in a 1-mile run, the other had to catch a football shot out of a machine. From there, participants used clues to find the next event. The athletes would also have to score a soccer goal against an assistant coach, compete in an egg toss, hit a target by throwing a tennis ball, dodge a football, finish a sudoku puzzle, compete in an eating contest where contestants had to finish two chocolate pies without using their hands and run a mile relay.

Zach Vraa, a senior receiver, and Tony Prostrollo, a junior defensive back, were the winners.

Erdmann has often acknowledged one of the biggest reasons for the Irish's success in recent seasons.

The coach knows the foundation for what Rosemount accomplishes in the fall is largely dependent on the work in the offseason.

If this summer is any indication, the Irish will be ready for football season in a few short weeks.

Erdmann has been impressed with this week's weightlifting tests.

The players attempt their best one-rep lift in three events and Rosemount continues to add to its 225-pound clean, 225-pound bench press, and 300-pound squat clubs.

"This is the most we've had at these numbers since I've been here," Erdmann said.

Erdmann said more than 30 players have added their name to the 225-pound bench club, and another 30 have reached the 300-pound squat mark.

"Those are some pretty impressive numbers," Erdmann said.

Senior nose guard Andrew Johnson knows all about impressive numbers. Erdmann said Johnson benched 350 pounds during the test.

"That's the highest amount we've had in the last 10 years," Erdmann said.

The coach also expects a handful of players to squat more than 400 pounds.

This summer, several athletes have participated in the Irish Gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There have also been speed enhancement drills. Recently, players participated in 7-on-7 team offensive drills.

"Most of the work is done in the offseason, the winter and the spring," Erdmann said. "These are the months where guys really add to their lift totals and we build on that."

While the summer program is winding down, there isn't much time left before the start of the fall season.

Rosemount, with captains Garrett Bothun, Max Busher, Ben Danielson and Tyler Sandoz, opens the season at home on Friday, Sept. 3 against Apple Valley.

The Irish hope by then they will be ready to start another Amazing Race.

This time they hope to race all the way to another Lake Conference title.