MADISON — Caleb Dingess is entering his senior year of Skyhawk football and he has spent the off season working on his strength, conditioning and his gridiron skills.
"Coach (Shane) Griffith came in and really got us focused," he said. "I feel good and I feel stronger."
Griffith took over the program in the spring after serving in the seat for 16 years and retiring in 2015.
Dingess is a Coal Valley News All-County basketball and football selection and was a top defender and ball handler for the Skyhawk basketball squad. Dingess said that a different mindset is needed for both sports but the time between the seasons allows him to adjust to the mentality of football.
"It is quite a bit different," he said during a recent workout in the team's facility in West Madison. "I like different things about both (sports). I'm focused on football right now. When basketball is done, I'm already thinking football."
The wide receiver/safety will adjust to a versatile role on the offensive side of the ball that will see him and others take snaps and create with their athleticism and natural instincts. Dingess said that he likes the offense that Griffith has implemented.
"I wanted to get bigger, faster and I wanted to work on catching the ball (in traffic) when defenders are trying to swipe it," he added. "I want to protect the ball. I feel stronger overall from last season and I have the confidence to catch the ball over anybody, really."
Scott quarterback Michael Clay, who will also play multiple offensive roles has developed a relationship with Dingess.
"Me and Michael have a real good relationship and he can get the ball to me," he said. "Michael leads the team, he's been accurate and he knows where everyone is supposed to be. He's been great."
Dingess said that the team has rallied around one another.
"Our underclassmen are doing real well," he said. "Our coaches are really good and it just feels right out there. Coach Griffith is great. He's a grinder. If I could have had him for four years, it would have been awesome."
Dingess thinks his team can surprise gridiron fans this season.
"We have confidence," he said. "We're working hard and it shows."
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-307-2402.