This is no class field trip ....it is game week for prep football teams
August 14, 2011By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School
This is no class field trip: It’s game week for prep football teams
Not only does this week mark the first week of high school football games across the state, it also poses football coaches and players with a problem not usually associated with those in the realm of public education.
This week, they’ve a little too much time on their hands.
Prep football’s first night of games for area teams takes place Friday, six days before the first day of school.
Since 2004, the state-mandated start date for public schools has been Aug. 25. For most of the last decade, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s calendar has had the first Friday night of football falling prior to that date.
“We still open practice (around) Aug. 1 and we know the first game is going to come up at the end of that three-week period,” Cummings High School coach Steve Johnson said.
That has led to schools routinely facing the seemingly odd situation of having fans, parents and players flood their stadiums before students fill their halls.
It’s an occurance that spawns a handful of unusual problems.
The common concern among coaches is that with the students out of school, the game week preparations suffer at the hands of the unstructured nature of summer vacation.
“(When they’re in class) you know your kids are going to be at practice,”Western Alamance coach Jeff Snuffer said. “ … If they’re at home, what are they doing? Are they staying up all night? I’d much rather them be at school.”
The coaches aren’t immune to the traps that come with not having to worry about classes.
“It gives you all day to think about it, which is good and bad,” Graham coach Mike Mc-Cauley said. “… You watch the film, the 15th or 20th time and start thinking, ‘What if we should have done this earlier in the week?’ It allows you to focus, but it also allows you to rethink some things and then you question yourself.”
Game day poses the biggest challenge. “When it comes to game day, I think every coach has his own philosophy,” Eastern Alamance coach John Kirby said. “In my tenure there, we’ve brought them over and kept them all day, we’ve brought them over late and let them go to the game.We’ve brought them in at lunch time and let them watch movies. We’ve brought them in and sent them home. I don’t know what’s best.”
Williams coach David Green said he’s unsure of exactly what the plan will be when the Bulldogs open the season with a trip to Oxford Webb.
“Friday with the players, that’s a whole different story,” Green said. “…“We’ve tried all of that stuff. And most of it doesn’t work.”