Coaches adjust practices to avoid heat|[08/14/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Instead of working on a plan to beat opening night opponents like top-ranked South Panola, Clarksdale, Bogue Chitto or Claiborne, local football coaches spent Monday implementing plans to beat the heat.

Soaring temperatures, which eclipsed 100 degrees again on Monday, had coaches at Warren Central, Vicksburg, St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel Academy modifiying practice plans. After meeting with the Vicksburg-Warren School District Superintendent Dr. James Price on Monday morning, coaches agreed to shorten practice periods and lengthen their breaks. St. Al coach Jim Taylor said his team would follow the Price plan.

&#8220We’re always monitoring the kids,” Taylor said. &#8220You can go ahead and have a high energy period and then follow it with more of an easier period like working on the kicking game.”

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WC head coach Curtis Brewer said, &#8220It’s hot and you have to adjust to it. It breaks your routine, is the one thing it does. You basically shorten your work periods and extend your breaks. And when you have a break, put them in the shade, give them water and make sure they drink it. And get the helmets off.”

Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said his Gators will follow the same plan, with the lone difference being they would start practice at 5. WC and St. Al practiced right after school was out.

&#8220We have trouble holding kids here. And then you have your junior high kids and parents trying to pick them up. If you move practice back, it creates a big problem,” Taylor said.

Porters Chapel Academy coach Randy Wright said his team practiced Monday evening at 7 and will do so again today.

&#8220We’ll have two evening practices and then re-evaluate things after (tonight’s) practice,” Wright said right before the Monday practice. The Eagles will play Friday night at Tri-County Academy’s jamboree.

&#8220We’re suppose to play two, 20-minute, running quarters (in the jamboree),” Wright said.

While conditions were OK for practices Monday and this afternoon, that will not be the case Wednesday.

&#8220The temperatures and the heat indexes are to be at its highest peak on Wednesday,” Stevens said. &#8220We’ll be inside.”

&#8220We’ll run our regular schedule Monday and (today) and then be inside the gym on Wednesday,” Brewer said of the Vikings. &#8220We’ll go back out on Thursday and then have a night practice on Friday.”

Brewer says the adjusted practices should not take too much time away from preparation for the Aug. 30 Red Carpet Bowl opener against four-time defending Class 5A champion South Panola.

&#8220Anything is a distraction. But this is not something you have any control over,” Brewer said.

Stevens said the deaths of two football players in Covington County – at least one due directly to the heat – makes it an issue coaches must address.

&#8220You’ve got to focus on the heat. The two deaths in Collins means you’ve got to be careful. You have to monitor and adjust. We feel we can get a lot of work done over the next two days,” Stevens said. &#8220Like WC, we’ll be inside on Wednesday. We usually go to the Armory and have a walk-through. But we’ll do a lot of chalk session work with them on Wednesday as well. We’ll have a normal practice on Thursday and then Friday night we’ll have a scrimmage. We’ll run 25 offensive plays and 25 plays for the defense.”

Mount Olive’s Lonnie Magee, 17, collapsed on Aug. 8 and died of heat exhaustion. On July 16, Collins player James Short, 16, died during a weightlifting workout.