Mount Airy High drew a strong crowd at Friday’s 7-on-7 drills.
The fans were spread around four different fields, but the overall attendance was obvious by the packed parking lot as seven schools visited the Granite Bears for an unofficial start to the fall football season.
The three county schools joined Mount Airy along with Davidson Day, Davie County, Forbush and East Gaston.
With players still getting their conditioning up to par, there are usually some leg cramps related to dehydration, noted Bear coach Kelly Holder.
Athletic director Donald Price and volleyball coach Chuck Morris circulated the four fields, making sure everyone had water.
The players also were fortunate that the temperature dropped to a pleasant number in the low-80s and humidity wasn’t so bad.
There was a little breeze blowing, and the two practice fields were in the shade by midway through the evening, Holder noted.
He thanked all the people who helped put the event on as well as prepare Wallace Shelton Stadium and the two practice fields.
Asked about his team’s performance, Holder said the day started off “just horrible.”
Of course, a rival coach pointed out that Mount Airy’s first drills were against Davidson Day, likely the strongest of the eight teams there.
“I was really pleased with how we got over it,” Holder said. “We got a lot better as the day went along.”
Mount Airy isn’t a 7-on-7 kind of team, he said. The Bears didn’t come into this looking to score points, but to improve. Rather than call a bunch of fancy pass plays, Holder said every call was a play that the Bears will run in games this season.
Mount Airy didn’t keep score and didn’t even bother to advance the ball when making plays. Holder said he had a script he wanted to follow, and it wouldn’t do to call a 40-yard pass play when the team is standing inside the 10-yard line.
Holder said there was one time when he went to East assistant coach David Johnson and asked him if they could both call the same play again. Holder wanted to help a receiver learn how to adjust his route for the defense and wanted East to give the same look.
Against Davidson Day, the opposing coach called a timeout and spent three minutes coaching a kid up on his responsibilities on a given play.
“That’s good,” said Holder. “That’s what we’re here for — to get better.”
After Friday’s drills, East Surry and Surry Central were set to kick off the official start to fall practice with a Midnight Madness party. Look for coverage of those events in a coming edition.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.