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Ola football takes on Marine combat test


By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor   

  The Ola High School football team went through a special type of training on Wednesday, July 24, as the Marine Corps Recruiting Substation (RSS) from Jonesboro and players ran through drills that the Marines experience on a regular basis, helping the team learn more about fitness and what it takes to be a leader.

Sgt. Driskell of Marine Corps RSS Jonesboro gives instructions to two Ola High School football players during a fireman carry, one of the exercises in the Marine combat fitness test.
                                          Photo by Alex Welch

  In order to help his team prepare for the upcoming season, head coach John Kovzel thought bringing in a new workout would be beneficial for his players.

  “It helps anytime you can get a little bit of an edge in the summertime, instead of just lifting weights,” said Kovzel. “The selling point for me was they come out and talk about ethics, leadership and teamwork. It also gives them another light to see what the Marine Corps does.”

  Kovzel said he applied for the program at the Glazier Clinic, a football coaching seminar that was held in Atlanta earlier this year. The Marines from RSS Jonesboro selected Ola as one of the school’s they would visit.

  Sgt. Dominel Norwood was one of three Marines teaching the team about different drills and guiding them along throughout the two-hour workout. He said the players saw what those enlisted experience on a regular basis.

  “This is our combat fitness test. We’ve got two tests; one is the physical fitness that consists of pull-ups, crunches and a three-mile run,” said Norwood. “The combat test is more thinking about possibly being under fire and dealing with things that come with combat.”

  The fitness test includes army crawls, fireman carries, hauling ammo boxes and several other rigorous activities. Norwood said the exercises gave the players a chance to “see how we feel when we’re working out.”

  Even with the torrid heat bearing down, every player managed to finish the test. Kovzel said he was proud of his group and the support they showed for each other. Some players stayed for an hour after finishing the test just to encourage the rest of the team with their attempts.

“They learned about teamwork, and it brings us together a little bit tighter. Not one kid wanted to leave early,” said Kovzel. “They all stayed to cheer on their teammates. It was really huge for me as a head coach to see all the kids stay and their parents cheer them on.”

  After several hours of exercise, the Marines talked to the players about teamwork, leadership and what being in the military involves. Kovzel said two of his players stayed late to discuss joining the service after high school.



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