LANCASTER - Hard knocks for the Marauder football team.
The 2017 season officially begins on Thursday for the Marauders and head coach Perry Jehlicka, who his entering his 11th season at the helm for AVC.
The Marauders have been working all summer and Thursday afternoon begins the first official practice.
"We're further ahead as far as installation and all three phases (offense, defense and special teams) than we have been in the past," Jehlicka said. "We're very pleased where we're at and now we can start separating the players and we can begin our depth chart."
Jehlicka said that on Thursday, Friday and the team's first practice on Saturday will be in helmets only. The team's second practice of the day on Saturday will be in full gear.
"After we see them in pads, then the teams start to form. We get a better idea of where kids might fit," Jehlicka said. "We have a great group of new players."
Jehlicka said that all the the players have been working hard with conditioning, hitting the weight room and "good quality fundamental work." There was no physical contact over the summer, but Jehlicka is excited to see the new group of players in pads.
As of now the roster consists of nearly 80 players which is up from years past. Jehlicka said he likes to be between 70 and 80 players on the roster.
"We've found that to be a good number," he said. "It gives us good depth and more options."
AVC, which finished 7-4 last season and wrapped up its season with an impressive 35-21 victory over Victor Valley College in the High Desert Bowl at Marauder Stadium, will get a good feel of where its at when it will play an intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 17 at 7pm at Marauder Stadium.
The Marauders will face rival Bakersfield College in Bakersfield in both team's annual scrimmage against each other on Aug. 24 at 6pm. AVC will open its season against longtime rival College of the Canyons on Sept. 2 at 6pm at Marauder Stadium.