Football officially begins


While some teams from around the state thought of creative ways to open the first official day of football practice Monday, teams from around the Southern Crescent just did it plain and simple.

Some schools in Clayton County held practices in the morning to beat the heat, while Henry County schools had to wait until the first day of classes ended to hit the field.

Under the August heat, football has officially begin.

Monday was the first day under Georgia High School Association rules that teams could begin preseason workouts. Banneker, which plays in Region 4-AAAA with the majority of the Clayton County schools, got an early jump on most teams. Banneker's first-year coach, Marquis Slaton, put his team through a two-hour practice shortly after midnight

With the start of school in Henry County, players and coaches had to wait before hitting the practice field.

However, most of the teams held workouts and participated in seven-on-seven sessions to prepare for the season, which can start on Aug. 26. Next week, most team will hold preseason scrimmages against opposing teams.

Although temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to high-90s all week, coaches will take precautions to ensure the safety of the players.

But most players have become accustomed to the heat with daily summer workouts.

"The only way to get used to the heat is to get off the couch and get out in it," said Mike Rozier, who's entering his 11th season as Henry County football coach. "This younger generation wants to sit and play video games. Every 10 or 15 minutes, we're watering 'em down. You've got to be smart with these players. You can't be old school. You can't take chances on this generation."

The mid-90 degree temperatures didn't seem to bother most of the Jonesboro players that went through a mid-afternoon workout.

"The heat is here, you just got to deal with it," Jonesboro quarterback Cedric Nettles said.

Mount Zion held three practices on Monday. Coach Jamie Aull called an 8 a.m. workout which was followed a 3 p.m. special teams practice before ending the day with a 5-7 p.m. workout.

"Football is the best part of the year," Aull said. "It was a long offseason with a weight room renovation. We were excited to get back on the field."

Rozier shared the same sentiment.

"We had not a good summer, but a great summer," Rozier said. "We're way ahead of schedule. It's because of kids being here when they didn't have to be."