ATLEE, VA (WWBT) - The Atlee Raiders have many new faces on varsity this year. But they're all ready getting very comfortable with each other, thanks to a week away from campus.
For the third straight year, the varsity spent the second week of fall practice at Blue Ridge - a private school outside of Charlottesville. The team lives on the school's campus - doing everything with each other, to help team bonding, and focus on the season ahead. Atlee head coach Roscoe Johnson says he did it at his former school, Robert E. Lee. Johnson believes Dinwiddie is the only other school to spent an entire week of full practice away at camp.
Johnson says the team picks the second week, so they can have a full week of practice in pads. And the players say that it's an incredibly difficult week of practice - something they look forward to, but also dread - and always leave feeling closer as a team.
The Raiders need it after losing 37 seniors to a team that lost in the Region Championship game last season. The Raiders have nine new starters on defense. Luckily, the anchor of that D, middle linebacker Tye Burris, does return for his senior season.
On offense, quarterback Kenner Berry has taken the reins after playing parts of last season. He has one of his top targets, wide receiver Chad Jacobs, back for his senior season.
Johnson says that his numbers are huge at Atlee and continue to grow. He says that the winning culture that has been creating there is bringing more players out than ever. Johnson is hoping that leads to a championship in 2012.