By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
NEW WINDSOR — Junior running back Amin Woods stomps both feet as he approaches a 315 pound bar in the Cornwall weight room. He squeezes the bar with his hands covered in a chalk-like substance and holds it parallel to his knees. He takes two steps back and effortlessly propels the bar to his shoulders in a squat position.
The 315 pound hang-clean is a new Cornwall football record. The old record was 300 pounds originally held by — yup, you guessed it — Amin Woods.
Woods’ work in the gym has put a smile on head coach Ryan Baldock’s face, whose frequent motto is, “Team chemistry starts in the weight room.”
“The weight room is crucial because it’s not weather-dependent,” Baldock said. “You don’t always have to be on the field to promote team chemistry. For us, it all starts in the weight room.”
Baldock also preaches the weight room as a mandatory place to go in order to prevent injuries during games.
“Most people aren’t aware of this, but lifting in the weight room can prevent injuries on the field,” the coach said. “Football is a physical sport. If you’re not conditioned to play safely, you leave yourself at-risk for getting hurt during a game.”
The 5-foot-8 Woods has always been a team-first player, and being in the weight room consistently helps him be the best version of himself on and off the field.
“Lifting definitely helps a lot because there’s things on the field that require football IQ, and once you have that IQ, things like your agility, strength and footwork come into play.” Woods said. “If I’m not able to fight for extra yards, or break to the out on a run when there’s space, I’m letting my teammates down.”
Amin Woods PR’s
Bench-Press: 315 lbs
Deadlift: 530 lbs
Squat: 565 lbs
Hang-Clean: 315 lbs
It’s that same mentality that led Woods to his successes on the field. In his first season as a starter, he was awarded the Class A Player of the Year by the New York State High School Football Coaches Association, rushing for 1,798 yards and 17 touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 316 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s something else,” Baldock said. “His work ethic is amazing, and his teammates respect him because of it. He’s a kid that every coach dreams of coaching.”
Since the end of last season, Woods has worked out at Ultimate Advantage four times a week. Alongside owner and trainer Rick Scarpulla, he has focused not only on getting physically stronger, but mentally stronger as well.
“I took this whole off-season to get bigger, stronger and faster to help my team for this upcoming season,” Woods said. “Rick focuses a lot on the mental toughness aspect of things. It’s helped me get my PR’s really high because he helps me with really big weights.”
Woods may have extra weight on his shoulders this upcoming season as the defending Class A state champions. Statistically, the Dragons have the toughest schedule in Section 9. Their opponents this season combined for a .561 win percentage last season.
“I trained twice as hard as I did last season,” Woods concluded. “As a team we put a lot of work in the weight room this off-season, and we’re confident it will pay off during the season against whoever we play against.”