Defeat summer — that has been the motto.

Harker Heights athletic coordinator and head football coach Jerry Edwards has emphasized the importance of overcoming the summer months before returning in the fall, and that includes not just his football program, but all athletic programs as a whole.

Harker Heights is in the middle of a two-week break in its summer strength and conditioning program, and Edwards said the workouts have been going great.

“It’s the best summer we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Edwards said. “Our strength coach (Garson Skelton) does a good job of that and our coaches have done a good job of promoting it, and a lot of the success we’ve had lately at Harker Heights has gotten more kids involved.

“We’re averaging about 100 kids per session, and I believe that’s by far more than anybody in the city, right now. That’s 250 to 300 kids every day coming to work out.”

Harker Heights has three workout sessions per day. The first consists mainly of football players, the second session consists of what Edwards calls the Olympic sports — such as volleyball and soccer — and the third consists of middle school kids.

The workouts are open to players of each sport, and Edwards felt it offered a unique opportunity for kids to compete against others from different sports.

“They compete against some other kids they don’t normally get to compete against,” Edwards said. “There’s a mixture of sports, especially in our second session, so they kind of get to build that bond together.”

Harker Heights is about halfway through its summer workouts, and Edwards emphasized the importance of taking a break at this point.

“We told the kids to relax, enjoy themselves and don’t do anything — take it totally off,” Edwards said. “We talk to our kids about that all the time — in season and out of season. You’ve got to get your proper rest, eat the right things and work hard.

“Those three things, it’s like a stool. You need all three legs for a stool to stand up, so we emphasize the resting part all the time. After this two-week break is over, we’re going to go three more weeks before we start fall camp.”

But that doesn’t just pertain to the kids. Edwards said the coaches need to get their time off, too.

“We’ve got to take time off during the summer just to recharge,” he said. “I tell the coaches to take time off, don’t think about work, don’t think about football. Rest and recharge, because once we get back in late July, it’s nonstop till December.

“You need that time to rest and get away. When we get back in July, we’ll be working five days a week, but once we get to August, it’s seven days a week for 12 to 13 weeks straight. It’s definitely a grind.”

Edwards is in the middle of his own two-week vacation, and while he is enjoying his time off, he’s ready to get back at it.

“You can turn your mind off and just kind of spend time with your family,” Edwards said. “But you start getting eager again to get the season back up and going. It just rejuvenates you a little bit.”

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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