The Dunlap football team has been participating in a voluntary football camp this month to begin preparing for the fall season.

The Dunlap football team has been participating in a voluntary football camp this month to begin preparing for the fall season.

Although not mandatory, Brett Cazalet, head football coach, said all the players were there.

“That’s a credit to the kids and their parents to play on vacation,” he said.

The camp focuses on basic fundamentals of the game, gets the players in shape and mentally prepares them for the season ahead.

“We try to work on communication, talking to one another, getting lined up correctly, offensively and defensively — the basic fundamentals. We don’t hit much, or do a lot of tackling at camp. It’s more getting the kids in shape and getting communication out of the way,” Cazalet said.

Official practices do not begin until Aug. 11 — the statewide date set by the Illinois High School Association.

Cazalet said he hopes to see improvements among the players throughout the season, not just at camp.

“We’ve got to improve greatly offensively. We weren’t great offensively last year, and I think the kids have done that, and they understand my expectations and terminology,” he said. “We’ve made a big jump forward. There’s still a heck of a lot of room defensively to improve too.

“The kids put in the time this off-season in the weight room and they carry that attitude through practice and onto the field.”

Although not sure how the season will go, Cazalet believes the first game against Illinois Valley Central on Aug. 27 will show their strengths and weaknesses, which will begin the season improvements that need to be made.

“You look at your strengths and weaknesses every week and try to get better. I’m sure Chillicothe will show us some weaknesses, and it all depends how the kids react when they get out there,” he said.

“The first one with IVC — they had a nice season last year and they are kind of a natural rival. It’s been a while since the two teams have played. That will be a great game right out of the gate,” Cazalet said. “Then there is Metamora and Washington. Metamora is about the elite program in the state and Washington is catching right up to them.”

Cazalet wants to focus on constant improvements this season and wants his team to play the best they can.

“We’re trying to build a solid program here and make sure we keep going forward and not backwards. As a coach, you want to see improvement each week throughout the weeks, just continuous improvement,” he said.

In the fourth week of football camp, Cazalet has been working with the team for physical and mental improvements.