While most athletes are preparing for baseball, it was all about football Feb. 19 as athletes and coaches who are working to put together a Metropolitan State College team attended the initial practice session.
Metro had a fledgling team last year that played one game. Englewood resident Gary Kozacek is assistant coach of the new team and helped Dennis York, the head coach, put together a team that is making a fresh start.
Kozacek said this year the Roadrunners will be a club team but the goal is to get good enough to join a sanctioned college league.
The coaching staff put the players through the initial workout Feb. 19 at Englewood High School Stadium.
About 40 athletes turned out for the session. The first order of business was to shovel snow off the field to provide a practice area. Once an area was clear of snow, backs, receivers and ends then began learning the system and plays in one area while the linemen worked out nearby.
“I love football and I want the chance to play again,” Tony Salazar, a Denver West High School graduate, said as he waited his turn to run a pass pattern. “I figure this will be good-caliber competition and who knows, playing in this league could lead to something better.”
York said he is pleased by the number of players who attended the initial session.
“We are hoping to build a team of about 60 players and we will try to get everyone into every game,” the coach said. “We have some good-looking skill position talent here for the first workout and the turnout of linemen is a little thin. But I think once the word gets out, we’ll get the players we need.”
The coach said the team plans to run an offense that focuses on speed. They will use a wide-T formation with the halfbacks split outside the ends. York said the plan is for the ball to be in the air on 90 percent of the plays, either as a pass or as a pitchout to a running back.
The team is open to part-time or full-time students at Metro, Community College of Denver and University of Colorado-Denver. The team has an office in Tivoli Club Hub, Office H, and has a Facebook page at Metro State Football where information about the team and its activities are posted.
The team’s next practice is 1 p.m. Feb. 26 at Englewood High School Stadium. York said he also hopes to begin holding practices on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
For more information about the team and the practices, call York at 720-422-4295 or Kozacek at 303-918-9001.
Playing for the Metro State team demands an investment of time, energy and money. The team will be part of a league where no players are paid, plus each Metro player is expected to pay $250 in team dues to cover the cost of uniforms and official fees. In addition, each player must buy his own equipment. A full set of good-quality used equipment will cost $300 to $400 while new equipment for this level of play will cost about twice that much.
“This will be a league using all college-level players and we’ll be using college rules,” Kozacek said. “We will play a seven- or eight-game regular season schedule and our plans are to use Englewood High School facilities as our home field for games and for our practices.”