08/01/10 — Annual fall ritual officially kicks off Monday

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Annual fall ritual officially kicks off Monday

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 1, 2010 1:50 AM

It has been seven months and 27 days since players at Goldsboro High School donned football attire and hit the gridiron.

The Cougars and head coach Eric Reid are anxious to get back to business.

"I'm excited and I know that the kids are excited," said Reid. "Anytime you get to go out and do something that you love and you are passionate about, it's exciting."

Goldsboro opens practice at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

Reid expects the workouts to be hot and heavy.

"We had good participation in our voluntary summer stuff and I think that the guys are ready to go for real," he said. "The guys that are coming back still have the taste of the Southwest Onslow game in their mouth from last year and I think they are really focused on trying achieve their goals."

The Cougars' season ended with a loss to the Stallions in the 1-AA eastern regional championship game in November 2009. Reid's team kicks off its 2010 campaign Aug. 20 at Wilmington New Hanover.

Temperatures have easily eclipsed the 90-degree plateau and heat indexes have soared into triple digits during the past month. Coaches are trying to beat the heat with either early-morning or late-afternoon practices.

Southern Wayne, again, will enjoy an early-morning workout on Aug. 2 while the rest of their county brethren will undoubtedly be asleep. The Saints begin their season with their annual Midnight Madness session in Dudley.

Veteran coach Bob Warren will follow that witching hour practice with daily sessions at 8 a.m.

"It's been so hot lately that we felt like moving the practices to the morning would be a good idea," said Warren. "We have always gone in the afternoon, but this year my coaches and I decided that avoiding the heat was necessary."

Greene Central moved its practices into the evening hours to beat the heat. The Rams will take the field at 6 p.m. on Monday and focus on conditioning.

"The first three days we will be trying to get guys acclimated to the heat and trying to get in shape," said Grantham. "We have had good participation in our summer workouts which should help us, but the heat still takes some getting used to."

Teams are only allowed to practice in shorts and helmets for the first three days and Grantham is planning on using that time as a learning experience for some of his newcomers.

"We are looking at about 30 guys for the varsity and another 30 for the junior varsity," said Grantham. "We need to take those first few days and start going over the basics of the offense and putting in our base stuff."

The Rams open regular-season play Aug. 20 at South Central.