Ready to keep the intensity progressing on the gridiron after completing a summer of team camp workouts for 2017, the Spring Hill Bears now are totally focusing on their fall football season this week.

Ready to keep the intensity progressing on the gridiron after completing a summer of team camp workouts for 2017, the Spring Hill Bears now are totally focusing on their fall football season this week. The Bears reported back to practice this week with all of the entire high school football teams in the Natural State to prepare for another challenging year of gridiron action.

Spring Hill football head coach Matt McBride returns for his second year as the commander-in-chief of the Bears. McBride was pleased of the Bears production on the gridiron this summer participating at camps hosted at Gurdon, War Memorial in Little Rock and in Prescott.

McBride knows the advantages summer camp workouts provide for the Bears that guides them right into fall practice in August. McBride continues to keep a competitive edge for the Bears to show in their play to be over achievers to have success.

The Bears got a chance to face some high quality football programs this summer during their trips participating at team camps. The Bears took on two reigning state championships teams during summer workouts in Prescott for the month of July as well as several higher classification football programs that produce D-I level talent. The Bears faced state champions in Class 2A Mt. Ida and Class 3A unbeaten Prescott for workout battles on the gridiron. Also the Bears faced Class 4A Ashdown in team camp who produces some of the top D-I players in the entire state of Arkansas.

McBride believes facing tough competition of these caliber programs can help his Bears enhance their play and hopefully become a postseason team despite picked to finish seventh voted by league coaches in the 2017 preseason predictions.

This summer's workouts have been beneficial to the Bears and McBride believes the depth expected to provide this season will be key with several returning players from last year.

"The kids did a good job competing this summer against some really good football teams of Prescott, Mt. Ida who won state championships last year. We also went up against Ashdown who has D-I players. I think that good for us to see that kind level of competition.

Overall I was pleased with the kids participation. I was a little concern with the numbers throughout the summer, but we look to have 30 kids this year and that's pretty good for Class 2A, McBride said.

The Bears will continue their weightlifting and conditioning sessions as fall football practices progresses throughout this week into school begins.

With the departure of defensive coordinator Rusty Winfield no longer at Spring Hill, McBride is excited to have assistant coach Cameron Brown now take over the defense.

Also, McBride has welcomed David Clark to his assistant coaching staff for the Bears this year.

Coach Clark will be over the Bears lineman this season. Clark brings a years of expertise of 20 plus years in coaching to the Bears football program. He's apart of success coaching several years at Bearden and McBride believes he'll help the Bears work to reaching team accolades in Spring Hill's football program. Coach Roy Whatley returns to be an asset to McBride's assistant coaching staff as they'll all be guiding the Bears through intense practices this week for preparation for the 2017 football season.

The Bears will have a load of depth at the offensive and defensive lineman positions this season. They'll be key at the quarterback positions with Payton Massanelli healthy and stronger after suffering a early season injury last season. Rusty Orr and Parker Freeman also will take snaps as quarterbacks for the Bears to give several options.

For the ground game, Keymonte Rhodes returns and expected to have a break out season and up coming explosive sophomore Slade Cox will capitalize the yardage for the Bears at running back.

Cameron (Cam) Middleton, Hays Martin, Drake Kidd, Lewis Chambers, Ty Rosenbaum are among receivers return with experience to be productive this season.

The Bears are set to begin the season with a scrimmage August 21 against Baptist Prep at Malvern High School football stadium. The Bears officially open the season at home Sept. 1 hosting Bismarck at Bear Stadium.