08/02/10 — Saints continue tradition

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Saints continue tradition

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 2, 2010 1:46 PM

News-Argus Video Report

DUDLEY -- The tradition continues.

And the late-summer ritual -- high school football -- has officially started.

Southern Wayne ushered in the 2010 season with its annual Midnight Madness practice around 12:30 this morning. Dressed in helmets, T-shirts and shorts, 30 players participated in the Saints' first workout session in unseasonably cool temperatures.

"We're pleased with the turnout and the attitudes that the guys have, and we're looking forward to getting the season started," said Southern Wayne head coach Bob Warren.

The remaining 10 teams in the News-Argus readership area kicked off their respective campaigns either this morning or later this evening.

N.C. High School Athletic Association rules mandate the first six days of practice are used for physical conditioning. Players are allowed to work out in just helmets, T-shirts and shorts during the first three days. Shoulder pads are permitted the fourth day, but full body-to-body contact is not allowed.

"We're hoping that we're conditioning some while we're practicing," said Warren. "We'll run some and today is a great day to do that because it's nice and cool."

Teams can conduct two-hour practices during the first six-day period, including stretching and water breaks. Once that period concludes, teams may begin contact drills and the NCHSAA said teams may also schedule a "light" workout period the same day in just shoulder pads and helmets.

"We've got to get our plays in and get ready, the season starts with a scrimmage in less than two weeks," said Warren. "We've got our hands full right now because we've got a young team still, even though there is quite a few back from last year."

Southern Wayne will participate in a day-long jamboree at Southern Vance, and open its 2010 campaign at home Aug. 20 against perennial 3-A powerhouse West Craven.

The Saints started last season 0-7, but finished 2-2 the final four weeks of play. Warren's program is 3-19 over the past two seasons after claiming the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference championship in 2007.

Warren walked the linemen through their blocking routines during the early portion of this morning's practice. Assistant coaches David Lee and Ricky Lofton worked with the backs, who left tracks on the dew-covered field at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex.

"There's just something about it," said Warren of the annual affair. "The kids enjoy it and look forward to it. We've got some nice volunteers who help us out and cook (breakfast) for us. It's a great way to start the season."