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Online Extra: Flavor from a recent Ellet football practice

By Michael Beaven Published: August 29, 2013

There are many sights and sounds during any practice and game, at any level.

Here is one from a 2013 Ellet football practice that accompanies the feature story on head coach Joe Yost and his coaching staff:

The practice starts with the usual stretching and running to get warmed-up.

Tackling drills, blocking drills and a little scrimmaging follows with chatter between coaches and players. The criticism is constructive and light. Humor makes an appearance often.

Ellet coach Joe Yost is in his 35th season in charge of these practices.

There are reminders to wear a mouthpiece during hitting drills where full pads and helmets are on as the Ellet marching band plays on a field off in the distance.

During a break, that gets kind of lengthy Gary Yost shouts: “Are we waiting for the weather to change? Let’s go! Let’s practice!”

The players resume their work with the Yost’s and other coaches John Sarver, Bill Lehman, Chuck Shuman, Bob Clark, Brian Geer, Steve Hague and Vince Ursetti.

An intra-squad scrimmage follows and a gust of wind leads to some laughs.

Joe Yost stands and as he coaches, his hat blows off his head due to the wind. He smiles and looks towards the ground and shouts: ‘Hey! I lost my hat. Somebody help me get it.’

Senior lineman Casey Barker sprints towards the hat without hesitations as it rolls in the grass and dirt. Barker retrieves the hat for his coach, and as he give it back to Joe Yost, his brother Gary Yost chimes in: ‘You see, us Yost’s that still have hair don’t cover it up with a hat.’

Later in practice, Ursetti, a 2001 Ellet graduate who is now a varsity assistant and head freshmen team coach, lines up under center to play quarterback against varsity and junior varsity players.

Coaches laugh and tease Ursetti about interceptions from a previous practice that lifted the spirits of the defensive backfield. On this day, Ursetti completes a few passes, sees some fall incomplete and watches a few others get snatched by a defender.

Practice nears a conclusion and Ursetti runs an option play to his right, but slips and falls to the ground for a short gain. Players and coaches laugh. The laughter is short though, as Ursetti silences his critics moments later with a long completed pass over the middle that results in a touchdown to end practice.

“I hit the lottery with this coaching staff,” Yost said after a huddle with his players and coaches. “I am a lucky man.”

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