07/28/12 — High school football season opens Monday

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High school football season opens Monday

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 28, 2012 11:07 PM

The annual rite of fall -- high school football -- officially kicks off for schools in the News-Argus readership area and throughout North Carolina on Monday morning.

Most teams conducted mini-camps during the spring, while a few squads participated in summer passing leagues.

The real preparation for 2012 begins now.

"We are excited about getting started Monday," Spring Creek head coach and alum Aaron Sanders said. "We have several young guys looking forward to taking a larger role in the program."

During the annual coaches clinic in Greensboro last week, officials from the N.C. High School Athletic Association discussed changes in the handbook regarding preseason football workouts. Schools are required to follow those guidelines, and must have either a certified athletic trainer or first responder in attendance at all practices and games.

Prospective players are permitted to wear shorts, T-shirts, cleats and helmets during the first three days of practice. Shoulder pads may be added on the fourth day and full-contact sessions are prohibited until the seventh day.

The NCHSAA has provided three optional workout schedules.

Coaches can conduct one three-hour practice each day, including flex time. Teams can participate in a three-hour session, followed by a mandatory three-hour cool-down period followed by a one-hour walk-through in just shorts, T-shirts and cleats.

A third option, which cannot take place until the contact period begins, is a two-practice day that must not exceed five hours. Coaches are required to include a three-hour cool-down period..

Once school begins, teams cannot practice longer than three hours in one day.

The NCHSAA also reminded coaches to schedule water breaks and have supplies for rapid cooling on the sidelines as precautions to prevent heat-related problems. Players should be monitored during physical exertion and training activities.

Some coaches have scheduled early-morning practices to compensate for temperatures and heat indices that will increase throughout the day. Others have planned for late-evening sessions when the heat indices began to decrease.

The regular season begins Aug. 17.