Secondary School

Football practice starts soon • Summer heat a big concern


Secondary School

Football practice starts soon • Summer heat a big concern

It’s scorching hot, and once again as football practice time nears, coaches are concerned

It’s scorching hot, and once again as football practice time nears, coaches are concerned.

“Maybe we will get a break in it,” said Sam Pearson, head coach of the Marshall Academy Patriots.

At the same time, Pearson and other coaches in Marshall County know those hopes are a long shot. In recent years, the hottest temperatures of the summer have greeted them on the practice field and even at the start of the season. This year is stacking up to be no different.

“It could be hot all the way to October,” said Chris Daniels, head coach of the H.W. Byers Lions.

Pearson will be the first to put his team on the practice field, beginning in a week, Thursday, July 30.

He said, based on the August heat in recent years, he would be in favor of pushing the season back two or three weeks.

“We can talk about precautions and safety, but really there is only so much we can do once we get into it,” he said, “particularly on game night. You can monitor it better in practice.”

Pearson said his tentative plan is to practice an extended period in the evenings when preseason drills start.

“We will probably go about an hour and a half, give them a 30-minute or so break, and then go back for an hour,” he said.

The Patriots will play in a jamboree at Oxford High School Saturday, August 15, before opening the season Friday, Aug. 21, at Starkville Academy. He expects about 30 players this season.

The public schools in the county will open practice on Monday, Aug. 3, which is also the day teachers report for in-service training prior to the first day of school Thursday, Aug. 6.

Coach Daniels said he tries to get his Lions outside as much as possible during the summer (while school is out).

“That’s one of the reasons why seven-on-seven is so important,” he said. “We want to get them acclimated to the heat. But still, once they put on those helmets and shoulder pads (in August), it adds about 20 to 25 degrees to the temperature for them. We have to give them lots of breaks and keep them hydrated as best we can.”

His Lions will participate in a jamboree hosted by fellow county school Byhalia on Friday, Aug. 14. Action starts at 5 p.m.

Other schools participating are county school Potts Camp and Coahoma Agricultural High School.

Byers starts the regular season Friday, Aug. 21, at neighboring rival Benton County.

At Holly Springs High School, head coach Donald Deans said his Hawks may take to the practice field in the evenings, like at 7, when August 3 rolls around.

“We will just have to see what happens with this weather,” he said. “Safety is of utmost importance – keeping the kids hydrated.”

The Hawks will host Tunica Rosa Fort in a jamboree on Friday, Aug. 14. “Meet the Hawks” activities will begin at 6 p.m.

Holly High hosts rival Byhalia to begin the season on Friday, Aug. 21.

Deans said he is excited about the improvements being made at Sam Coopwood Park, like new fencing around the football field. He said he appreciates the support from the city and others who have helped.

“It’s looking good,” he said. “We’re trying to upgrade our facilities and continue to make good things happen.”

Potts Camp kicks off its regular season Friday, Aug. 21, by visiting Hatley.