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Back on the field

Lakeland’s football team carried on with its first day of preseason practices the best it could Monday.

The Cavaliers took to their practice fields behind the high school a day after senior teammate Tyquan Lewis was shot and killed.

“No one really got excited today. It was very somber, but we pushed ourselves through it,” Lakeland head coach Glenwood Ferebee said.

The decision to hold practice as scheduled was difficult, yet straightforward.

“I thought about it for a little bit, but then I thought about Tyquan and I thought about him a lot. He was a football kid and in my heart, I knew he’d want us to practice,” Ferebee said.

The Cavaliers had a 6-4 record last year and came close, probably within one more win, to making the Eastern Region playoffs.

Lewis, a wide receiver and defensive back, missed most of the season with an injured knee. Partly because of missing so much action, and partly because of entering his senior season, Ferebee said Lewis was one of the strongest leaders on the team when it came to the team’s postseason goal.

“If we have a good season and get to the playoffs, it will be in his honor. So we had to make sure, and he’d want us to, work hard today to get ready for the season,” Ferebee said.

The Cavaliers practiced twice Monday, with a short break between the two sessions.

King’s Fork also was among the squads getting under way with practices Monday.

August heat and football two-a-days are practically synonymous.

“Last year, we started our afternoon sessions at 3 p.m. and our first three days, it was too hot to be outside,” said KF head coach Joe Jones.

The Virginia High School League has rules limiting or stopping any outdoor athletic event when the heat and humidity reach certain levels.

Jones changed his team’s practice times because of the missed time last year. The Bulldogs are practicing earlier in the day this August, in order to be done before the worst of the afternoon heat.

As for Monday, though, thick clouds and temperatures in the 70s made the sprinting, blocking and tackling a little less taxing. This first day of practice felt closer to an October evening, and that was at 1:30 p.m.

“This is perfect. I’ll take this for the next three weeks,” said Jones, a Pennsylvania native.

Lakeland is getting set for its season opener on Friday, Sept. 3 at Wilson. King’s Fork, 3-7 in 2009, but with victories over both city rivals, Lakeland and Nansemond River, opens on Thursday, Sept. 2 by hosting Churchland.