Taking it to the field

Published 8:10 pm Monday, August 1, 2011

Cavaliers run sprints Monday during the mid-afternoon heat on the first day of official practices at Lakeland. Monday, a little more than a month out from when the season starts for most squads, was the first day of football practice for most schools around the region.

Bulldogs, Cavs hard at work at preseason practices

King’s Fork’s and Lakeland’s football teams were hard at work on rough, shadeless fields a few miles apart during the hottest part of Monday as most high school teams around the region and state got to start official preseason practices.

The average August day, so a relative break compared to the recent heat wave, was not quite sweltering enough to force practices to be shortened, moved inside or called off.

King’s Fork running back Noah Johnson catches a pitch during the first day of official practices on Monday. The Bulldogs start their regular season a week earlier than most squads, on Friday, Aug. 26 at Booker T. Washington.

For the Bulldogs and Cavaliers, the afternoon sessions were already their second practices of the 2011 campaign.

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Lakeland is building toward the opening Friday night for most teams in Hampton Roads. The Cavaliers host Southeastern District foe Deep Creek on Sept. 2.

Lakeland nearly made the playoffs two seasons ago going 6-4 for one of the best Cavalier seasons since Lakeland moved into Group AAA. The Cavaliers went 0-10 last season, remaining within an eight-point margin against only Nansemond River and Indian River. Deep Creek beat Lakeland 33-7 last October.

King’s Fork has a week less to work with. The Bulldogs will travel to Norfolk to face Booker T. Washington as one of the few games around Virginia on Friday, Aug. 26.

King’s Fork started last season 0-7 before beating Western Branch, Lakeland and Nansemond River on the last three Fridays of the season.

Per Virginia High School League guidelines, football players can’t be in full pads until the sixth day of practice. For the first three days of preseason practices, it’s helmets only.

For all fall sports getting underway, most of which have earlier start dates for their regular seasons than football, no one practice session can exceed three hours and total practice time in a day can’t be more than five hours.

The VHSL has statewide rules concerning heat and how or if teams can practice outside depending mainly on an index that combines the temperature and humidity.

Coaches can be mandated to give players water breaks every 20-30 minutes all the way to having no outside activities. For instance, a 90-degree temperature with 70 percent humidity or a 100-degree temperature with 30 percent humidity both add up to no outdoor sporting events. Heat-caused postponements have happened each of the last couple Augusts with football, golf, cross country and field hockey practices and games.