BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Practice is almost over. Game time for the new high school football season is almost here.
“Oh thank goodness,” said Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler.
But at least in the early part of the season, it’s the heat that may be the biggest challenge. “It’s been crazy,” said Elberta head football coach Nate McDaniel. “I don’t remember it ever being this hot.”
“Our coaches have been preparing for this all through the summer but especially lately,” said school system athletic director Marty McRae.
With temperatures soaring, Coach McDaniel brought his players in for practice at 6:15 in the morning and preached not only what to do on the field but off. “We talk to them about hydrating and the things they put in their body. Don’t walk around with Monster energy drinks you need to be hydrating with water and put the right things in your body.”
So far that seems to be working. Teams have also been given the option of starting games later when theoretically it is cooler. “I don’t know how much of a difference 7 to 7:30 is. I went outside at 8:45 the other night and it was still hot. Hot is hot,” said McDaniel.
Extra heat timeouts will be taken during games, at least one per quarter and more if needed but it won’t just be the players that need to be heat aware according to McRae. “Fans be sure you hydrate before because it’s going to be hot in those stands.”
Each team has emergency action plans in place and trainers ready to react if needed.