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New strength coach working Cathedral High players hard

Cathedral High School running back Khalil Brice lifts weights Tuesday afternoon with his teammates in the team’s weight room. Cathedral is going through its summer workout program under third-year head coach Ron Rushing. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Cathedral School football team is developing a new attitude this summer in hopes of building off of last season’s success.

Green Wave head coach Ron Rushing, along with new strength coach Jonathan Gamberi, have been pushing their players four days a week this summer to prepare them for fourth quarters in the fall, Rushing said.

“We are getting bigger, faster and stronger,” Rushing said. “We are working as hard as I’ve ever seen here.”

Gamberi said he is focused on creating strong football players this summer and not bodybuilders.

“We are not just trying to build muscles,” he said. “We don’t care about big, bulky, slow muscles. Everything we try to do relates to game situations.”

Gamberi said winning games in the fall starts in the weight room over the summer.

“What we do in here will lead to W’s during our season,” he said. “Everybody has bought in as far as (summer workouts).”

Upcoming senior Khalil Brice said falling short in the playoffs last season is motivating this year’s juniors and seniors.

“That just killed me last year,” he said. “We thought we had it.”

Brice is one of only a handful of Cathedral seniors this season, and he said he is stepping into a leadership role this season.

“I’m learning how to be a leader,” he said. “There are only five or six (seniors), but there are so many other (younger) guys, and they have been pushing and getting better. They are starting to lead too.”

Rushing said along with weight lifting, the players are also conditioning, doing position drills and participating in seven-on-seven- camps.

Brice said the team struggled early on during seven-on-seven. The Green Wave is replacing several skill players, including starting quarterback Caleb Upton. But he said the he and his teammates continue to improve.

“We are getting better,” he said. “We struggled when we first started games, but now we see improvement.”

Rushing said participation has been good during summer workouts, and he expects the work to really help during the first few games when the weather is still hot.

“This will really help out early in the season,” Rushing said.