WAKE FOREST—High school football practice kicked off Monday for teams across North Carolina.
Some teams began practicing shortly after midnight. Many athletes have been anticipating the excitement of the game all summer long. When players at Heritage High in Wake Forest took the field around 7 a.m. they got right to work.
"It's the first practice, we've got to start looking good and we have to make sure all the newcomers know that this is our standard," said senior Lucas Seitz.
Coaches wasted no time whipping their team into shape.
"We go hard all the time. I never take time off. And there's mental practice, there's physical practice. So we're going early to get out of the heat of the day," said Offensive Line Coach Mike Doyle.
During the typical three-hour practice, players will take anywhere between six to 12 water breaks. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) also requires a first responder or athletic trainer to be on-hand at practices and games to monitor the heat and the players.
"We talked to our athletes about hydrating you know the night before throughout the entire day and obviously on two a days it's going to be more important to have that water hydration put in," said athletic trainer Becky Busack.
Players also recognize the importance of staying well-hydrated.
"You don't want to come out here with no water in you or you will pass out, start to get dehydrated, cramping up and everything," said senior Malyk Hannah.
Players like Seitz believe giving their all during practice and keeping their bodies in good shape will put them in the top spot by the end of the season.
"A lot of them beat us last year, so it's a mindset of we have to get better so we can beat them this year," said Seitz.
After six days of practice, players can suit up in full uniform and participate in body-to-body contact. The first games this season take place on Aug. 17.