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St. Joseph High hosted 7-on-7 summer league football practices as teams from the area, in and out of the FCIAC, visited the Cadets’ playing fields a couple nights each week throughout the summer.

Teammates worked together to sharpen skills and chemistry. Receivers worked on routes, while getting timing down with quarterbacks. All the while, defenses improved their readiness levels.

Sure, all of this can be done in intra-team practices but going up against opposing schools throws more of the unknown at players as they get ready for game mode.

“You get new looks every week. The teams constantly change. It’s beneficial,” said All-State quarterback David Summers. “It’s great, especially when we have new kids coming in, playing both sides of the ball – tons of reps.”

Teams alternate playing offense and defense for a series through approximate half-hour blocks of time, then switch opponents.

“It helps us because we’re constantly playing and we’re getting our timing down – and our hands,” said Will Diamantis, a top-flight receiver who also took some snaps and threw the ball while the Cadets worked on their offense.

“This is helpful on top of our regular conditioning and training,” said Summers, referring to running, agility drills and weight-lifting the players take part in earlier in the day.

Other participating teams included FCIAC foe Trumbull, as well as lineups from Southern Connecticut Conference schools such as Shelton and Fairfield Prep, and South-West Conference teams, including Stratford and Bunnell of Stratford.

The Cadets get back into the routine of 11-aside gridiron battles in mid-August practices.

Regular-season action kicks off when New Canaan visits on Saturday, Sept. 8 for a 1:30 contest. The Cadets’ annual Thanksgiving clash with Trumbull High will take place Thursday, Nov. 22, with St Joe’s visiting the Eagles at 10.