Pleasant Hill, Ore. -- After an up and down 2018 in Joel Smith's first year, Pleasant Hill football is bringing back talent, energy and the same playbook.
"This being my second year here at the program, the kids are excited to have similar systems in place," says head coach Joel Smith. "They don't have to learn a lot of new terminology. Consistency wise, we're doing some new things up front in order to use our athletes up front. Most of our starters are juniors and seniors so they were able to learn and we're just miles ahead of where we were last year."
But what stands out is the amount of players out at fall camp, indicating a newfound energy around the program. Players practiced in the pouring rain last week, but that only made them louder and more excited. Much of that can be attributed to Smith, who himself is running to and from drills, encouraging his team.
"Last year when I started it was something new for our guys out here," Smith continues. "We had some mornings with 8, this year we have over 30 in the morning and we've had as many as 43 in the morning one day. So it's been positive, the kids are excited, the community seems to be excited. Pleasant Hill ,the one thing about it is the community is supportive."
Which comes from Smith's high energy approach, which the players love.
"He gets us, he gets what we're going through every day with school and the rest of our lives," says one player. "He's kind of a dad to some of the kids out here. Pleasant Hill football it's a big thing. It's been around for years, the community always comes out and supports it and everyone wants to be a part of it so I think that helps a lot."
So don't count out the Billies in 2019. They open the season on September 6th with Salem Academy.