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Cougars Open Spring Football

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Photo by Joe Reinsch
Head Coach Victor Santa Cruz works with defensive backs during Azusa Pacific's first spring practice Monday.

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March 19, 2013
Joe Reinsch

AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific officially kicked off its preparation for the 2013 football season Monday afternoon with over 70 players participating in the first of 15 spring practices set to take place in March and April. Spring camp concludes with a scrimmage-style practice on Saturday, April 20.

The Cougars, who completed their first season of membership in NCAA Division II’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference by winning four consecutive games to close out the year, will include a youth football open house on April 13 and a high school coaches clinic on April 20 as highlights of the spring camp.

“It’s exciting just to get back out there and coach football again,” said Cougar head coach Victor Santa Cruz, who enters his eighth year at the helm of Azusa Pacific football next fall. “It was great to see the amount of speed we have, and it was a lot of fun to see some veterans from this past year’s GNAC battles getting back to work in some of those key positions. In terms of measurement, we’ve got a long ways to got to be ready for a football game, but they played with a lot of emotion. That’s going to get us in the right mindset to grow and develop throughout this spring camp.”

On Saturday, April 13, the Cougars will host an all-access open house for area youth football coaches. Youth football coaches will attend that day’s coaches meetings and observe practice.

A week later, as the Cougars wrap up camp with the spring game, they’ll also host the second annual Azusa Pacific Football Coaches Clinic. The program begins at 8:00 a.m. with team and positional meetings, to be followed by the final spring practice and lunch. The afternoon program features several breakout sessions to wrap up the day.

A $10 clinic fee includes lunch along with access to the full day’s program. Coaches who would like to attend the clinic are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, April 12, by contacting Coach Justin Riddle via email (Click here to email) or by phone at (626) 815-6000 ext. 3211.

After making back-to-back NAIA playoff appearances in 2010 and 2011, Azusa Pacific transitioned into NCAA Division II’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2012. The Cougars’ associate membership in the GNAC for football is the first conference affiliation for Azusa Pacific’s football program in the school’s history, and the Cougars finished their opening year of Division II competition with a four-game winning streak which included a Homecoming win over eventual GNAC champion Central Washington.

Azusa Pacific’s spring football practices are open to all Azusa Pacific community members, including fans, alumni, faculty, staff, and students. Media access is provided by contacting Azusa Pacific’s Sports Information office by email (Click here to email) or phone (626-815-5085).

2013 Spring Football Practice Schedule
Monday, March 18
Tuesday, March 19
Thursday, March 21
Monday, April 1
Tuesday, April 2
Thursday, April 4
Saturday, April 6
Monday, April 8
Tuesday, April 9
Thursday, April 11
Saturday, April 13
Monday, April 15
Tuesday, April 16
Thursday, April 18
Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.