08/01/09 — County teams open football practice

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County teams open football practice

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 1, 2009 11:42 PM

Rhythmic clapping, shrill-sounding whistles and shouts of "are you ready?" filled the air early Saturday morning in Wayne County.

That annual ritual is back.

More than 200 athletes climbed out of bed, shook off the cobwebs from a night of sleep and officially began their first football practice of the 2009 season at the county's six high schools.

"I'm ready to go today," said third-year Goldsboro High coach Eric Reid moments before he issued equipment Friday evening.

He's not the only one.

The players got a taste of practice during mini camps last week, but the "real" sessions begin now. For the next six days, coaches are permitted to hold just one two-hour, on-field practice session.

Players may work out in just helmets, shoulder pads, T-shirts and cleats during the first three days. Shoulder pads are permitted on the fourth day.

Weather forecasts call for temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, which will undoubtedly hike the heat index. Coaches are reminded to consider the time of day, practice intensity, equipment worn and environmental conditions when putting the players on the field.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association recommends water be made available any time during practice and that designated breaks should be implemented in the daily schedule.

After six days of practice, players may wear complete uniforms and begin body-to-body contact. Coaches are allowed to schedule a second practice session during this time, but must limit it to non-body contact.

All 11 schools in the News-Argus readership area open their respective seasons Aug. 21. However, just four teams -- Charles B. Aycock, Southern Wayne, Goldsboro and Eastern Wayne -- will play at home.