Bulldogs past and present take gridiron

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2015

King’s Fork High School is inviting local football fans to come out on Aug. 7 for a glimpse of gridiron Bulldogs from yesterday and today.

For the second straight year, the school will host an alumni flag football game that will precede the annual Midnight Madness practice for the current King’s Fork team, featuring the Bulldogs getting to practice in pads for the first time this year.

King's Fork High School alum Jamie Hornsby, left, competes against fellow Bulldogs alum Rick Gregory during last year's inaugural alumni flag football game. The contest returns on Aug. 7, open to all former King's Fork football players.

King’s Fork High School alum Jamie Hornsby, left, competes against fellow Bulldogs alum Rick Gregory during last year’s inaugural alumni flag football game. The contest returns on Aug. 7, open to all former King’s Fork football players.

“It’s just a nice, inexpensive way to have a fundraiser, and most people don’t mind spending a couple dollars,” King’s Fork coach Joe Jones said, referring to the $2 admission fee. “And we had a good turnout for the flag football game last year and had a lot of students come in, and most of them stayed for the practice.”

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The alumni flag football game was born out of Jones’ survey of who was in the stands during past Midnight Madness practices.

“We have noticed every year we get more and more former players coming out to watch,” he said.

Jones said when he was coaching at Windsor High School, the school used to do an alumni basketball tournament, which helped give him the idea for affording former Bulldogs the opportunity to re-take the field they once played on in high school.

“Last year, I think we had 10 or 12 because it was last minute,” he said.

This year, he’s hoping for at least 20.

“I always will take more, but at least 20 would be a nice improvement from last year,” he said.

To participate, former King’s Fork football players need to donate $20 to the school’s football program, and in addition to playing in the game, they will receive a Bulldog discount card, which gives its holder access to discounts and deals at area restaurants and shops.

Registration for the alumni flag football game will run from 9 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 7, with the game itself running from 10 to 11 p.m. It will likely feature 20-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime.

“Depending on if we get 20 players, and we get 10 to a team or more, then we’ll use the whole field,” Jones said. “Last year, we just used half because we had five on a team or six on a team.”

For the Midnight Madness practice, “We’ll get out on the field to warm up about 11:30, and then we’ll start the full contact right around midnight.”

Jones said he stole the idea for Midnight Madness from college basketball.

“We have to practice five days before we can go full gear and hit,” he said. “Years ago when college teams would start basketball practice, they came up with the idea to start at midnight the day they were allowed to start, and then they got crowds there. So, I started it back when I was at Smithfield (High School).”

The 2015 Bulldogs will warm up, review tackling and blocking fundamentals and then go right into hitting drills.

Offseason workouts start in January, and players have from then until Midnight Madness to think about going against certain guys in hitting drills.

“Guys will get to pick who they go against, and yeah, that’s kind of fun, too, because they challenge each other,” Jones said. “They challenge each other because there’s a lot of competition at each spot. We have, right now, 52 varsity players on the roster.”

Everyone wants to be on the field on Friday nights, and evaluations by the coaches on who will make the cut begin in earnest on Aug. 7.

Hitting drills will run until about 12:45 a.m., and then “we’ll kind of scrimmage a little bit live against each other for the first time,” Jones said.

The cost of admission for the alumni flag football game is $2, and those spectators can stay for Midnight Madness. Those coming only for the practice will be charged $2, as well.