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Friday, May 6, 2016

It's practice season on the gridiron

Friday, August 17, 2012

The 2012-2013 school year is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing to sports fans -- football season is about to kick off.

Area football teams started practices on July 30, and are already hard at work preparing for the coming season.

"So far, its been going real good. Kids have been showing up. It was cool the first week. This week has been a little hotter, but the kids have been showing up and working hard," Melbourne assistant coach Brad Harris said.

Despite one of the hottest summers in recent memory, Salem High School defensive tackle and tight end, senior Marcus Cagel said temperature has not been affecting practices thus far.

"It's been hotter in the past seasons than this year. Practices have been rougher, but the heat isn't bothering us very much," Cagel said.

The Arkansas Activities Association has put new rules into effect to prevent heat related injuries from occurring during summer practices.

The biggest rule change comes in the form of limiting two-a-days. In the past two-a-day practices were permitted every day, from the start of summer practices. Now teams can only hold two practices in a day, three times per week.

During the first week of practices, teams were only allowed to practice for one hour in the second practice of the day, and were only allowed to wear helmets and shoulder pads.

Starting the second week of practices, teams can have two hour practices during the day's second practice and full pads are worn.

Melbourne running back and outside linebacker coach Clayton McWilliams said the rules aren't changing the way the Bearkatz practice.

"They haven't really affected our practices. We pretty much follow all those rules anyway. The main thing is, we just make sure the kids stay hydrated and stay cool as much as possible," McWilliams said.

Cody Curtis, Salem's first year head coach, isn't complaining about limits on practice time. He said Salem is having good practices, and only needs two hours to do them.

"So far, we're having a very good turnout. And we're having good practices. Everyone is really pushing each other, and we have some good leadership. We don't go three hour practices. Usually everything we want to get done can get done in two hours, if we're doing one-a-days. We get out here, the guys go hard and we usually get everything we want out of them in two hours," Curtis said.

Melbourne will kick off its inaugural varsity football schedule by hosting Palestine-Wheatley High School on August 31. The Greyhounds start their season against Mountian View.

On the Missouri side, Thayer will host Hayti on August 24, and will travel to Highland on August 31, for the Rebels' season opener.

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