Cleats crunching the dew covered grass on the practice field at Olvey Field means that the high school football season has officially started.
The Tigers held their first practice Wednesday evening, the first day players could practice in full pads.
Players finished the first practice at 10 p.m. Wednesday night and then spent the night in the new field house so they would all be ready to for the second practice at 4:30 a.m.. Thursday.
Keeping with the trend of the redesign of Olvey Field and the completion of a new state-of-the-art field house, Bradwell head coach Jim Walsh wanted to bring back an old tradition.
“We have had camp for a lot of years and we had to get away from because of starting school so early and different regulations. We had preplanning starting Aug. 1, which was the first day of preplanning, so it worked out for us. I’ve wanted to go back to a camp for a long time. It gives good practices without a lot of heat and staying overnight helps to build a stronger bond among players,” Walsh said.
Regulations and policies regarding the number and times of practice have changed a lot with the changes of National Federation, GHSA, and even local board policies. The GHSA has put into place a policy that requires all players to go through an acclimation period that includes five practices with helmets only. Only after the fifth practice can a player be able to wear full pads.
According to Liberty County School Systems Head Trainer John Murat, the new acclimation policy was adopted by the GHSA in March 2012.
“We had some with pads on the first practice Wednesday night and some players without pads will complete their fifth practice in helmets only during the practice. Since those players made the five helmet practices, we were able to pick up six more players in full pads for the Thursday morning practice,” BI defensive coordinator Jeff Miller said.
The Tigers stayed overnight at the new field house between practices on Wednesday and Friday night to give the players to get a chance to know each other better.
The 2012 camp was Tiger senior defensive end Quonte Haggray’s first camp experience at Bradwell.
“It’s been good for us. Being around each other is helping us come together as a team and work harder. I think this is going to help us this season,” Haggray said.
Freshman Sean Morrison also is enjoying his time camp.
“Camp has been difficult but you just have to get through and work hard but we are getting better,” Morrison said.
Bradwell finishes up two-a-days Saturday morning at 7. The Tigers resume a normal practice schedule in the evenings in preparation for the Wayne County scrimmage on Aug. 17.