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Mitchell players improving at Monday Night Football

Mitchell senior Nate Wahlen prepares to make a one-handed catch during Monday Night Football on the field south of Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Since the first week in June, Mitchell High School football players have gotten together in an effort to get better.

The meetings, which feature coaches and players, take place every Monday at 7 p.m. on the field south of Joe Quintal and will go until the last Monday of this month. During the workouts, players from grades seven through 12 practice a variety of football skills, including passing, catching, and blocking in addition to playing 7-on-7.

The title of these football get togethers is aptly named "Monday Night Football."

"It's a similar concept to open gym," Mitchell football coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "We do it on Mondays because that is the day of the week that seems to work best for our students. We are just trying to get kids the opportunity to get out and do an activity."

Monday Night Football began four years ago as a way for Mitchell football players to keep a football in their hands and keep getting better during the offseason. The Kernel football team doesn't play in many 7-on-7 tournaments during the summer but play that style when it meets up.

"We are lucky because we invite all grade levels," VanOverschelde said. "Just to see the progression that they make with all the skills they are working from year to year is always nice. With the limited time we have to prepare for that first game, we have to look at what other teams are doing to prepare and know that we have to get better."

VanOverschelde said there is an average of 25 players every week, adding it's not a requirement that players attend.

"Our numbers have very much improved since the time when we first started doing Monday Night Football," VanOverschelde said. "We have seen more kids come because it is a consistent deal now. When the kids don't have a baseball game or an activity outside of football, this is good for them to come and work on their skills."

One of those players who has faithfully attended the once-a-week get-togethers is lineman Andrew Getty.

Getty will be a senior this fall and has been attending the summer workouts since he was a freshman. Since joining the team he has been active in trying to get his fellow teammates to attend the Monday workouts.

"We work on our individual skill positions as well as coming together for some team time at the end," Getty said. "We get to come out here with our teammates and get prepared for when the season rolls around in August, which really helps us. It hasn't really hit me that this is my senior year, but I definitely want to be playing some football in November."

Once the Monday night workouts finish at the end of this month, the MHS team captains will take over the workouts until summer practice begins.