It would be easy to mistake a Central York football practice for a track practice.
The Panthers start practice by running a full lap around the track, for a 400-meter run. Then they run it again. Then they run the 100-meter dash, several times. Then, and only then, do they actually step onto the football field.
They did all that running this summer in the heat — and continue to do so — preparing for the expectations set by new coach Josh Oswalt.
The Panthers' style of play isn't going to look anything like it did during the 34 years that Brad Livingston led the team. It's going to look faster, a whole lot faster.
“The tempo is pretty crazy," Oswalt said. "We expect them to be at the line of scrimmage, set in that formation, six seconds after the ball is set. No later."
Six seconds between plays. That's less time than it takes to pay for groceries with your chip credit card.
“From minute one, we’ve said, ‘We can’t be fat and lazy, we can’t be lethargic,'" Oswalt added. "The whole idea is that, no matter who we’re playing, we want to out-condition them.”
All of the conditioning feeds the appetite of Central York players hungry for a new way of doing things after struggling to a 3-7 record last season. They've latched on to the mentality that Oswalt and defensive coordinator Mike Cesarano, who both played at powerhouse Cumberland Valley more than a decade ago, bring into the locker room.
"It just makes me feel like we can do it too because he’s been through it, and he’s teaching us the steps that he went through along the way," Central York senior lineman Maurice Green said. "I feel like the stuff he’s teaching us will make us be successful as well.”
They Panthers also bought into the idea of spending more time studying film. They study tape of themselves and tape of their opponents and apply that knowledge in practice. The offense simulates the opponents' tendencies so that the defense can practice against it, then the defense returns the favor.
“We had to really learn what we’re looking for," junior receiver Eddie Santiago said. “We’re really watching the position of the defenses and how to expose it. Most of our time is spent watching film, and we use our extra time to watch film.”
On Friday, the Panthers get their first chance to show off their speed and scouting when they start the season by hosting West York.
The Panthers won last year's meeting, 31-28, but they have lost six of the 10 games the teams have played since 2006.
“We’ve prepared too much to let this one slip," Green said. "We want to get this win and move on to the next.”