High school football just around the corner

Andrew Alexander

High school football just around the corner

McNairy Central senior quarterback Hayden Kiestler tosses a pass to one of his receivers during a Bobcat Football practice. Staff Photo by Amanda Lowrance

High school football in McNairy County kicks off  Friday night as McNairy Central High School and Adamsville High School play in season opening jamborees.

MCHS will play Jackson North Side High School at 7:40 p.m. in Trenton, Tenn. during the Sports Plus Jamboree hosted by Gibson County High School.

AHS will play Jackson Christian School at 7 p.m. in Henderson, Tenn. at the Back to School Football Jamboree hosted by Chester County High School.

Official practices began for both AHS and MCHS football teams August 1, which is a week later than coaches are used to. Compounding the problem of a shortened practice schedule has been heat indices registering well above 100 degrees.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s calendar is slated differently than it has been in years past, according to both AHS Head Coach Brandon Gray and MCHS Head Coach Jim Glover. 

In the past, Tennessee high school football coaches would begin practices the week of Aug. 1. Since that day fell on a Monday, coaches have been shorted a full week of practice.

“If it fell on a Friday, we would have been able to practice the full week leading up to Aug. 1,” said Gray. “We’ve only had one week of practice and one scrimmage, when usually we would have had two weeks of practice and two scrimmages by now.”

Glover shares Gray’s frustration saying that the shortened practice schedule has made it difficult to get everything where it needs to be.

“It sort of puts you in a bind,” said Glover. “Trying to get everything installed has been tough because we aren’t getting as many practice days as we’re accustomed to.”

According to Glover, at this time last season MCHS had conducted 25 padded practices. This year, the team has had only 12.

On top of the shortened block of practice time coaches have had to deal with intense heat that is a danger to their players,, and, if neglected, can be a danger to the school itself.

“We have to follow the rules. It goes back to integrity for a coach,” said Gray. “We’re not trying to get anyone hurt, and we’re always going to address the players’ safety first.”

Gray said he was forced to call off last Wednesday’s practice because it was simply too hot, and Adamsville’s gymnasium was not any cooler because it is not air conditioned.

Glover would have been forced to do the same, but the gym at MCHS is air conditioned and suitable for football practice when weather conditions outside are too extreme for the players.

Despite the obstacles, the 2011 high school football season has already presented, both coaches are excited to get their seasons started, and both claim their teams, though behind schedule, are in quality shape and just need a little more time to work out the kinks in their chemistry.

The official season opening games for both teams will be played Aug. 19 when MCHS takes on St. Benedict at Auburndale in Selmer, and AHS battles the Eagles of Chester County in Henderson, Tenn.