It’s that time of year. High school fall sports are just around the corner, as practices for the first season of the 2017-2018 school year began this week. For athletes and coaches, it’s time to prepare.


Last year, the Dover Senators finished the season with a 3-7 record, ending up on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. Entering their second season under head coach Rudy Simonetti, the Senators are hoping to improve.


The Senators begin their season Friday, Sept. 8 when they host Archmere Academy at 6 p.m.


These days, every team in every sport goes through their own offseason conditioning. Last season’s 60-13 loss to the now back-to-back state champion Smyrna Eagles gave Simonetti an idea of what it takes to be a champion.


“Smyrna is a very good team and obviously they’re extremely talented,” Simonetti said at the end of last season. “But, what stood out to me was their off-season training in the weight room that was evident in their style of play.”


The first few weeks of open practices can be crucial to a team’s success, especially in football. Teams only have so much time to get their offensive and defensive units set before the time for game planning comes.


“I’m a firm believer that the weight room in the off-season is what gets you to the playoffs and ultimately winning state titles,” Simonetti said.


Simonetti learned a lot during his first full season as head coach, but he learned more about the players who don the uniform.


“I learned that we have a bunch of tough kids here that will play physical,” Simonetti said. “I was really proud of their toughness displayed; those are two things that are non-negotiable on this team.”


Dover will have a handful of preseason scrimmages as they look to fine tune their skills. First, they travel to take on Bergen Tech High School in New Jersey Aug. 19, followed by home scrimmages against Williamstown High School (N.J.) Aug. 25, and a scrimmage hosting William Penn Aug. 30.