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Its still music to the ears on the first day of full pads
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The ECHS Rebels battled the heat in going head-to-head on the practice field Wednesday. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Even for someone who’s been involved in football for as long as he has, the initial sound of pads crashing into pads never gets old for Jack Webb.

Webb and his coaching staff led the Effingham County Rebels through their first full-pads practice Wednesday, the first day allowable under Georgia High School Association rules. It also happened to be the first day of school and the hottest day of the year.

“Oh, you love it,” he said of the full pads workout and its music to the ears of coaches. “Everybody who coaches, you can’t wait to get to that moment.”

Some, the veteran coach, are more anxious than others, with a few schools in the southwest part of the state hitting the field to hit each other at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

But the Rebels don’t have the luxury of working out in the cool of the very early morning hours. Coaches like the heat and seeing who’s in condition and who can push through the drills, but they also are wary of the dangers it brings.

“It was hot,” Webb said of Wednesday’s practice, “and they trudged through it pretty good. It’s south Georgia and it’s hot, so there’s really not much to do about it.”

As the Rebels started their first full-contact workout of the preseason, Mother Nature turned up the heat full blast.

The electronic marquee in front of the school posted a temperature of 109 degrees as the Rebels were midway through the practice Wednesday. The mercury raced into triple digits early Wednesday afternoon, with more reliable gauges recording 103 degrees.

Webb said he and his staff ensure the players get plenty of water and plenty of breaks. Players have water bottles available during drills and are encouraged to drink while waiting for their next repetition.

“Anytime they want water, they can get it,” Webb said, “and by all means, drink it.”