Football teams practice early to beat the heat

Goose Creek football team tries to stay cool on the first day of practice Friday.

High School football teams practiced for the first time today, with most of them working out early this morning to avoid the rising temperatures.

That includes the Goose Creek Gators, the defending Division II-AAAA state champions. They started practice at 8 a.m. when the temperature was 78 with a comfort level of 82.

“It’s nice today. We’re very fortunate,” said Goose Creek trainer Ernie Drews. “Yesterday, when I left here, it was 112 degrees. It was 120 in Moncks Corner.”

The cooling fans were turned off and the ice baths were empty, but the juice was flowing.

Even on a cool day, the 158 players and coaches drink 40 gallons of Gatorade and go through two cases of oranges and bananas and 150 bagels.

“When it’s really hot and we have two-a-days, we’ll use 60 gallons of Gatorade,” Drews said.

The High School League instituted new practice regulations and today’s practice was limited to three hours. Players wore gym shorts, T-shirts and helmets.

SCISA teams will begin practice Monday.

Goose Creek is one of three defending state champions from the Lowcountry. The others are Timberland and Bishop England. Timberland held a morning workout, but Bishop England opted for a late afternoon session.

Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil