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Football practice gears up this week for county high schools

After an unseasonably cool – well, less hot – and wet summer, the heat and humidity have finally come arrived just in time for the official start of fall football practice. As players take to the field this week and next, heat indexes have soared above 100 degrees.

There are two possible official start dates for fall football practice, as decreed by the AHSAA: July 26 or Aug. 2.  It depends on whether the school elected to play in a spring training game.

Phil Campbell, Red Bay and Russellville started July 26.  Tharptown and Vina will start Aug. 2.

“In typical fall practice fashion, the temperatures will be very high, but we will be prepared with ice baths and plenty of breaks,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We are excited to get the 2021 season started.  The expectations for this group are the same as always at Russellville: maximize our ability and play with lots of energy and passion.”

Phil Campbell head coach Kevin Barnwell said he is glad the heat arrived now rather than later.

“It’s July and August in Alabama. You knew it would get very hot at some point,” he said. “I’m just glad it got here at the beginning so the players can get acclimated to it because you know it will be bad once we start playing those Friday nights in August and September.

Barwell said he and his team are “going to do everything possible to keep our players safe with plenty of water breaks and cooling off periods.”

“These first two weeks will help us find out who we are,” Barnwell added. “We will get our schemes together, fine tune and tweak to fit our personnel. That is what we want to accomplish in the early days of practice.”

New Red Bay head coach Heath Childers said he is looking forward to his first official day of practice.

“The first day and first week of fall practice is always an exciting time of the year for everyone involved with a football program,” said Childers. “I’ve been looking forward to this since I was hired here at Red Bay.

“I’m looking for improvement out of the team each day,” he added.

Phil Campbell will host Hamilton, and Red Bay will travel to Curry, for preseason games Aug. 13.