Ooh rah! Marines Turn Wood-Ridge High School Football Camp into Boot Camp

The tire flip was one of eight stations the obstacle course. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Wood-Ridge High School Blue Devils football team and members of the U.S. Marine Corps. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Practice began with basic stretching. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Marines taught proper form for push ups when they visited the Wood-Ridge High School football practice. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
More stretching exercises. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Sgt. Nator watches over players doing the "inchworm." Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Sgt. Nguyen ran the day's drills Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Between reps, players would jog, do push ups, or mountain climbers. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players jogged between sections. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Marines encouraged players. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Pain is weakness leaving the body. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Marines demonstrated all the drills before the obstacle course. First up was the fireman carry and relay. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Marines demonstrate the fireman relay. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Demonstration of the medicine ball squats. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Demonstration of the sled pull. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Demonstration of the four-man push up. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Four-man push up teaches coordination, teamwork and strength. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Wood-Ridge players watch the Marines demonstrate all the stations. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Demonstration of the dead lift. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Demonstration of the ammo box relay and lifts. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Then it was the players' turn at the fireman relay. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players at the medicine ball squats. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players tire flip for 20 yards. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Two teams pull the weighted sled. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
The four man push up isn't easy Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players dead lift on the course. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players at the medicine ball toss and burpees station. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
The final station ammo box relay. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
20 lifts with the ammo box. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Players needed full extension on the lift. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Private First Class Alvarez, Sergeant Nator, Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen, Staff Sergeant Park, and Sergeant Sylvester at Wood-Ridge High School. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
The Marines had some final words for the Blue Devils players. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
The winning relay team finished with a time of 7:05. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis
Marines thank Coach Trentacosti. Credits: Faith C. Ballantine-Armonaitis

WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - You were not mistaken if you passed the Wood-Ridge High School football field and thought that pre-season football practice had been replaced with boot camp.  

That is because, for the second year in a row, Wood-Ridge High School head football coach Charles Trentacosti invited Marines from the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-Station in Jersey City for a day of “boot camp” with his team in preparation for the upcoming season.

“This is the second year they have been here, “ Trentacosti stated.  “The players got a lot of of it last year, and this year the captains came to me and asked if they could come back.”  

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Whistles were replaced by “YES SIR!” and approximately 40 Blue Devils football players were put through drills by Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen, Staff Sergeant Park,  Sargeant Sylvester, Sergeant Nator and Private First Class Alvarez.   And these were not normal football drills.

After stretching, the opening set of drills would have them doing 20-yard crawl relays, which is standard in many football practices.  What is not standard is having to do push-ups, crunches, mountain climbs and running in place while waiting for your relay partner to finish.  

The activities were designed with a multitude of goals; conditioning, focus, teamwork and leadership.

The final activity of the workout session was a culmination, as the players in four-man groups, did an obstacle course for time.  The eight activities of the obstacle course consisted of:

  • A Fireman's carry relay -- teammates carried their partner 40 yards before switching.
  • Medicine ball squats - 20 repetitions with a 20-pound medicine ball over the head.
  • Tire-flip - Players had to flip a truck tire 20 yards.
  • Weighted sled pull - teammates pulled a weighted sled from one sideline to the hash mark of the football field and back.
  • Four man pushup -- 10 repetitions as players form an interlocking box and have to work together in doing a coordinated push-up.
  • Deadlift -  20 repetitions of 110 pound bar.
  • Medicine ball toss and burpees - Teammates tossed medicine ball to each other did a “burpee”  and tossed the ball back to their partner 20 times.
  • Ammo-can carry & lift -  Carry an ammunition can, filled with 30 pounds of sand, 20 yards, then lift one overhead 20 times.

Teams could not move from one station to the next without everyone having completed.  The winning team, finished in a time of seven minutes and five seconds.

“We look to make young leaders, not football players,’ stated Gunnery Sergeant Nguyen.

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