For those individuals who play or coach high school football, Tuesday, Aug. 7 has been etched in stone in just about everywhere possible — from bulletin boards to consciously in the mind.
The 2012 season will get off the ground on Tuesday as high school football teams will be able to begin practicing for the upcoming season.
“I think anybody that's a competitor and loves football, this is the day everyone points to,” said new Poteau Coach Greg Werner, whose team will begin practice with sessions at 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. “You get to get started, and everybody is excited. We're all undefeated. We're pumped up. It's just a great time of year. It never changes. It's an exciting time of year. Everybody looks forward to it. We're just looking forward to getting things kicked off.”
“We're excited about getting things going,” Pocola Coach Rick Lang said. “We do summer pride around here. I'm kind of big on May and June when we go into spring practice for those two weeks, then the two passing leagues in June. I stress that. July is more laid back, and around the Fourth of July is rough, but the closer we get to Midnight Madness, the more kids we have come up to the field house and weight room.”
The Indians will keep the tradition going of Midnight Madness, meaning practice will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday — the absolute earliest time practice can officially begin per Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association rules.
“It helps getting Tuesday here,” Lang said. “It's kind of been a tradition that we've established here. It makes it more exciting to get to do that. We've been doing it for a while. If you look at it from a coach's perspective, you can through in an extra practice than the teams who don't do a Midnight Madness. I can get three practices in on one day. But more than that, it's a tradition that the kids look forward to. It's cooler. It's all those things rolled up into one. It's been good to us, so we're going to keep it going.”
Besides just the start of the 2012 season being cause for excitement, so, too, are the practices themselves just to see how well players have progressed since school ended in May.
“We're going to see what this past year did for us,” said second-year Panama Coach Brandon Ellis, whose team will have two-a-days with practices at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday. “Last year, we had our growing pains, and we knew we would because we had young kids. But we're further along at this point where we were at the same point last year. We're going to see just how far along we are. We went to two camps, passing leagues. We're further along than we were last year, but we're not exactly where we need to be. I do like the progress we're making, and we're looking forward to Tuesday.”