Fruita Monument enjoying offensive familiarity at Mesa State football camp
Zach Thorpe could smile and not worry if he made the right read or made the right decision.
The Fruita Monument High School quarterback doesn’t have to learn a new offense in camp this summer.
“It’s more relaxed, going out, having fun my senior year, doing as much as I can, because I want to go out with a bang my senior year (this fall),” Thorpe said. “I’ve been hitting the weight room well, I can see a difference, my ball comes out a little bit harder. I’ve been working on my footwork, so I’ve seen improvement.”
Thorpe and the Wildcats are participating in the Mesa State College high school football team camp this week under their new coach, Sean Mulvey.
“This is our second year running the same system on the offense and defense, so our older kids are more comfortable,” Mulvey said. “You can see it out here. We wanted to make sure we bring intensity and get after people.”
The Wildcats are one of seven teams participating in the camp this week, which concludes today at Bergman Field. The other teams are Delta, Eagle Valley, Montrose, Rifle, Lewis-Palmer and Summit. Each team had an opportunity to scrimmage the other six in the three-day camp directed by Mesa coach Joe Ramunno.
“The biggest thing if you want to go to a team camp on the Western Slope, this is where you come,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “The Mesa coaches have done a great job and have been very accommodating.
“These guys understand the reason every team comes to camp is to get better at their stuff. A lot of guys on Joe’s staff are former high school coaches. They know our world.”
With the camp setup, it allowed Thorpe and the Wildcats an opportunity to expand on its base plays a little bit, something they couldn’t do the past two seasons with new offenses.
“Last year, we had four or five plays installed,” said Mulvey, who was the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator. “We came in here with base stuff and that’s it. This year, we’re still working on the base stuff and working at being good, but the playback is in. Besides our younger group, these kids are able to go in and play fast.”
Mulvey was named the head coach early this calendar year after Shawn Marsh left to become Mesa State’s offensive coordinator.
Mulvey, who was on Marsh’s staff for four years at Grand Junction, retained all but one assistant from last year’s staff and has a solid group of returning players that already know the playbook.
“On the offensive side of the ball, we lost a couple linemen and a couple skill kids,” Mulvey said. “It’s been a little bit more work, but having a solid quarterback in Zach, he sets the tone out there. We have a good core of skills kids back. We feel like we’re steps above where we were last year.”
Thorpe couldn’t agree more.
“We knew the offense coming in and keeping our basic sets right now because we do have some new kids in some newer positions,” Thorpe said. “We had some people that graduated like TD (Tyler Daniels) and Mar(tin Zupan) we’re going to have to fill. From what we see in camp, everything is looking great. Our line is winning the linemen challenge, looking great.
“I think everyone is more comfortable. Going into the first game of the season, it didn’t feel right. Now, we have a lot of seniors this year and the same system, so we should be set.”