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As heat soars, football teams enter first week of full contact, full pads

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

07-29-16 FBH MC Raiders - CopyLYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Monday marked a full three weeks’ worth of practice time remaining before the start of the 2016 football season for the TSSAA. As the countdown to the season nears its end, Monday also marked the transition to the final phase of the preseason as it was the first day players could practice in full football gear.

After a week working in helmets followed by a week in helmets and shoulder pads, Tennessee high school football teams began full-contact practices this week.

TSSAA rules limit contact and two-a-day practices. If a team had two practices Monday, it could only have only one Tuesday. If a team were to practice in full pads Monday and Tuesday, players must practice in “shells” (helmets and shoulder pads) on Wednesday.

National Federation and TSSAA rules limit full contact to three days per week.

The TSSAA limits practice sessions in pads to three hours, and if there are multiple practices in a day, only one can be in full pads and the practices must be separated by at least three hours of rest in a cool environment.

Coaches also must keep an eye on the temperature and check the heat index every 30 minutes. Mandatory 10-minute water breaks are required after every 30 minutes of practice, and athletes must have unrestricted access to water. Depending on the heat index, ice-down towels also should be available, and if the index hits more than 105 degrees, all activity must be stopped.

Jamborees for Tennessee teams will be held the second week of August and the season begins the following week.

The TSSAA did away with its Week 0 game, though the season is still 11 weeks long. The season, which allows for 10 regular season contests in an 11-week span begins on Aug. 19 with Week 1. The final game of the regular season falls in what is now considered Week 11 on Oct. 28, with the TSSAA state playoffs beginning the following week for qualifying teams.

MCHS is a Class 1A school that plays football in Region 4. Other Region 4 teams include Columbia Academy, Cornersville, Fayetteville, Grace Christian Academy-Franklin, Huntland, Mt. Pleasant, Richland and Summertown.

The Raiders are scheduled to open the 2016 season at home against Cascade on Aug. 19. Three straight road games are on tap after that as they travel to Forrest (Aug. 26), Columbia Academy (Sept. 2) and Cornersville (Sept. 9).

Moore County’s complete schedule has not been posted, but it will highlight games at home against budding rival Fayetteville City on Sept. 30 and long-time rival Huntland on Oct. 14.

The scheduled is also marked with a first-ever trip to Summertown for the Raiders. Summertown is entering its second full season as a varsity program.

—Additional information from The Jackson Sun and the Chattanooga Times Free Press