Mahomet-Seymour football

Mahomet-Seymour High School football players Cole Hubble, Braden Finch and Clay Hubble pose for a photo after completing the ‘Murph’ challenge.

MAHOMET — Many have viewed the quarantine due to COVID-19 begrudgingly. It’s not easy to be cooped up at home. But Braden Finch, Clay Hubble and Cole Hubble are taking the opposite approach.

It’s a chance for them to get ahead.

The Hubbles have a gym at their house, and Finch has come over every single morning for a workout.

But it’s more than just a workout. It’s a plan and there’s something fueling the trio that’s far more important than just wanting to stay in shape.

When Finch and the Hubbles checked in for the first Bulldogs football practice last year, they didn’t feel like they were in the best shape. Their diet was iffy. They weren’t hitting the weight room with an intense vigor. They had no idea what Jon Adkins expected in the weight room. It was all new.

Finch started at quarterback. Clay Hubble was the starting running back. Cole Hubble lined up in the slot. But the Bulldogs only won four games in 2019. And that’s just not good enough.

So the trio has decided to not let that happen again.

“We’re making sure it’s different next year,” Finch said. “We’re making sure that we’re going into next season in the best shape that we can possibly be in.”

The pain from last year is still very much there. So the plan they’ve installed is meticulous. There’s a scheduled workout every single day. One day, it’ll be shoulders and arms. The next day, they’ll blast their legs, abs, or back.

“Obviously, you can look at the basics and everyone wants to get better in strength, speed and cardio,” Clay Hubble said. “Most football players are trying to get as buff as they can and just bulk right now, but we’re starting to shred and get in really good shape where we can go forever and be as strong as we can and also be as fast as we can.”

They’ve started to do a weekly “Murph” workout which consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run. Initially, it took them over 50 minutes to complete the workout. But they’ve cut their personal records to 47 minutes, 42 seconds.

“The ‘Murph’ was a pretty good workout for us,” Clay Hubble said. “We thought we had an even harder one the other day, though. We have a perfect square in our neighborhood that’s about a mile exactly. We did three nonstop laps the other day. Then right after that, we did a cardio circuit where we did stairs, burpees and jumping jacks. For a 10-minute circuit. I think we did that three times.”

Many trainers will say that lifting is only 10 percent of the battle. The really hard part can be maintaining proper nutrition. The Hubbles and Finch certainly haven’t forgotten that aspect. Snacks are out the door. It’s all steak, chicken, salmon and vegetables. Protein shakes will help them recover after their workouts too.

“It’s helped us feel really good,” Cole Hubble said. “It’s so much easier to train. When I was at school, I’d eat like three pieces of pizza and you’re not ready to practice. So, if all three of us can keep each other accountable that will be a big help through the season.”

Finch added: “I used to eat spaghetti a ton. That was really hard to cut out. Just some of those foods that taste so good but there are way too many carbohydrates in it.”

The Hubbles and Finch were pretty irritated that they didn’t make the playoffs last year. Plenty of their M-S teammates held that same sentiment. And the Bulldogs are putting in the work in the offseason so they can reap the rewards next fall.

“I think it will be a lot easier to just be confident in ourselves and just know that we’ve put in the work,” Clay Hubble said. “We shouldn’t be worried or scared or nervous heading into next season because we’ve put the time and effort in. That will truly pay off at the end.”