Summer ends for high school football players Friday.
For Effingham County High School players, it ends at 1 p.m. with picture day. It’s back to work at 3:45 p.m. for the first official preseason practice.
Yet summer was no vacation for the Rebels, either, head coach Jack Webb said.
“It’s gone pretty good,” he said of the nearly two and a half months of workouts since spring practice concluded.
“Every coach would like to have more kids show up and more often, but some of them have to work, so they get there when they can.”
Webb expects between 80 and 100 players for the first of 19 practices before the Aug. 29 season opener at Burke County. That’s less than half the number of workouts coaches used to get with their charges prior to the first game.
Teams would go in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts the first week, often getting in two practices a day, and then go to full pads the next week.
“In two weeks, you’d get in 20 practices,” Webb said. “You got a lot of good teaching time.”
Then, a week of camp would follow, with practices routinely being held three times a day. That would precede the game week, with four more sessions.
“You had 39 practices back then,” Webb said. “It really cuts us in half.”
The Rebels will have 10 practices before their Aug. 15 scrimmage at Tattnall County and the new school calendars put more focus on offseason workouts and camps.
“That’s why you see so much emphasis now on summer programs,” Webb said. “In passing league, you get to reinforce a few things. Now in practice, you narrow down what you can do and what you need to do and build as the season goes along.”
Teams are limited to helmets and shoulder pads until Wednesday, which also happens to be the first day of school in Effingham County. Webb is anxiously awaiting getting his players back out on the field today, with the initial practice slated to conclude around 6:30 this evening.
“I’m real excited about it,” he said. “I hope the coaches and players are, too. We have to hit the ground running. We’re not going to waste a lot of time.”