The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Prep Football: Kicking Things Off

  • Local squads usher in official start to football season
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  • From sun up to sun down, football was alive and well in southern Illinois.
    In particular, the sound of the whistle could be heard across saline county as both Harrisburg and Eldorado High School suited up for what was considered the first day teams were allowed to practice.
    As the sun rose, the Eagles kicked off their portion of practice at 8:30 a.m. at the Eldorado Sports Complex, while Harrisburg closed things out under the lights at Taylor Field at 8 p.m.
    Wednesday was mostly about conditioning and getting re-acclimated with procedures. It's been nearly two weeks since teams in Illinois were last allowed to practice and EHS head coach Brandon Hampton made sure to knock off the rust early.
    "There is a little bit of rust, but the kids know what they're supposed to do. The rules, they know and everything else that's going on, but for us our timing is rusty because of the time off. I'm encouraged by the conditioning that the kids did in-between our camp and now the start of preseason.
    Mother Nature provided more than mild temperatures for the first start of fall practice. Temps were as high as 75 degrees and also helped in the implementation of the new IHSA acclimation policy.
    Under new IHSA rules, teams aren't allowed to practice in shoulder pads for three days. Trying to adapt, Hampton and Roper are using this time to put an emphasis on conditioning, assignment and alignment.
    Obviously the weather has been unbelievable and we're not sure how long its going to last. Right now, it's really good and looks like it's going to go through the week," Roper said.
    "We're doing the best we can with the acclimation period. It seems like our kids are handling it pretty well. Right now, we have a lot of holes to fill from last year. We are just looking at different guys in different positions. I think the first couple of days when you're in helmets it's about learning, so you try to stay mentally sharp. We're running, with the helmets on, to get them in shape."
    Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.
    Twitter: @spydieshooter
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