North Surry’s football team took the practice field at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for its first full-contact practice.
East Surry held its Midnight Madness on the first day of practice, but North Surry waited until the first time players could tackle each other.
“I want to say how overwhelmed I was by the support of our community,” said Coach Danny Lyons. There must have been a couple of hundred people watching.
“We appreciate that,” he said. “It shows the level of excitement in the community for our football program. And it shows the hard work the guys have put in and the job they’ve done on Friday nights the last couple of years.”
In 2009, the Greyhounds went 1-10, but bounced back with seasons of 8-4, 7-4 and 8-4.
In 2010 and 2012, the Hounds had a 2,000-yard rusher, while in 2011 Alex Ratcliff was a duel threat running and passing.
Running drills can help the coaches narrow down decisions on the depth chart, but nothing equals seeing how the players respond when delivering or fighting through blocks, the coach explained.
“I liked how physical we were,” he said. And best of all, the aggressive play didn’t lead to any injuries.
Lyons said that as a coach, he can’t ask for much more than great effort without setbacks.
A couple of returning starters sat out the practice as a precaution.
Defensive lineman Jordan DeHart rested a sore left ankle, while the coaches held out linebacker George Rumplasch who dislocated his shoulder last season and needed surgery. Both are expected to be in the lineup when the Hounds host Ashe County Aug. 23.
Despite their absences, Lyons said, “I was really pleased with defense.” That side of the ball was a little ahead of the offense as it tends to be this time of year, he noted.
North Surry will travel to Wilkes Central Saturday for a 10 a.m. scrimmage.
• The coaches gave the players breaks for water Wednesday and have emphasized hydration even more during the daytime heat.
Over the weekend, a North Carolina football player died from what is believed to be heat-related cardiac arrest.
According to The Associated Press, Evan Raines, a junior at Seventy-First High in Cumberland County, went through non-contact practice Saturday.
Superintendent Frank Till said Raines went to a coach at the end of practice saying he didn’t feel well.
Raines was treated by emergency medical workers before he was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where he died.
Dad Rodney Raines said that 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior had undergone a physical and was in good shape.