How they prepare: following the Tolton Trailblazers' routine on game week
For many Tolton football fans, setting aside each Friday night for the sole purpose of filling the stadium and cheering on the Trailblazers is routine.
The parents of players spend a little more time during the week contemplating football as they pick up their kids from practice.
Players spend nearly three hours a day, six days a week, either at practice or games and are constantly thinking about their upcoming match up.
However, no one lives and breathes Tolton football more than coach Michael Egnew. For him, preparing the Trailblazers for another week of play is an everyday undertaking.
Immediately following Tolton’s loss to St. Mary’s, Egnew and the other coaches go through the game tape and load it online, later exchanging the tape with Tolton’s upcoming opponent, Warsaw.
The tape is then set aside for Saturday morning.
The Trailblazers' players and coaches meet bright and early to go over film for their weekend practice.
“First, we as coaches watch the tape, evaluate it and get our coaching points ready to go,” Egnew said. “Then, we meet with the players and go over with them all our coaching points and corrections.”
This week, the team discussed flaws in Tolton’s technique and fundamentals, making sure the players were lined up correctly in their formations and were executing their varying roles.
“In any given game there could be 100 corrections,” Egnew said. “They could be slight things; no one’s perfect. You try to make everything right, and it’s up to the coaches to come up with their points and get them across.”
Time allowing, Egnew then takes his players outside to do a couple of walkthroughs based on the new adjustments.
While the players may get to take the day off, Egnew and the other coaches do not.
Sunday consists of a coaches meeting where the group does an evaluation of their team’s next opponent and starts to come up with a game plan for the week of practice ahead.
Come Monday afternoon, Egnew’s game plan is set into action.
“We’re always working the same things: fundamentals,” Egnew said. “Then, you work toward the things your scheme needs that week depending on the team you play.”
In spite of the absence of junior quarterback Gabe Pfenenger in last Friday’s game, Tolton managed to record 81 passing yards with the help of sophomore backup quarterback Jonah Lybeck-Brown.
Compared to only three rushing yards, the Trailblazers spent the week developing their run game while building on last week’s success with passing. Additionally, Egnew continued to work on fortifying his offensive line to afford protection for whoever is playing quarterback.
Tolton also worked to further limit its turnovers at practice this week. Coming off a three turnover performance against St. Mary’s, the Trailblazers will need to do a better job of limiting major miscues against Warsaw.
Thursday is a “finalizer day” for the team, Egnew said, as the Trailblazers put the finishing touches on their preparation for the next day’s match up.
It’s game day for Egnew and the Trailblazers.
“Every team that we play right now is a huge challenge for us; winning is not going to be easy,” Egnew said. “We believe we can do it, we believe we can bring our team out and make stuff happen. We see this game just like we see every game, and they’re another good team … we’re going to go out and see what happens.”
The Trailblazers will face the Wildcats at 7 p.m. Friday at Warsaw.