July 25, 2014 AUGUSTA, GA-- It's all so tauntingly close. The first fight song. The first kickoff of the high school football season.
Before the spoils of a Friday night in the fall, the work begins on the practice field.
"I got up this morning about 5 AM and I was a little nervous and sick," Evans head coach Marty Jackson said.
"I think coaches get a little bit more excited about it. I didn't sleep a whole lot last night, making sure we had everything in place," ARC head coach Chris Hughes said.
This is the first mandatory day of practice in Georgia. However, according to the coaches, the practice attitude isn't markedly different from a random day in June.
"We've been going since January really, but we really hit it hard June 2nd. The first monday in June I believe. We've been getting after it," Coach Jackson said.
It's a product of the system. High school football has become a year round activity. In the "offseason", players are lifting weights in between 7 on 7 summer camps.
The only thing missing in those practices are the pads.
"We just keep up the pace. The whole summer we've been saying high tempo, high tempo it should be no different when we get the pads on," Evans quarterback Matlin Marshall said.
The snaps are there. The popping of pads will wait one more week, along with the nerves of local coaches.
"Next Friday, when we put the pads on, I'll have good reason to get a little nauseous," Coach Jackson said.
This is the acclimation period where they can only go in helmets for the first five days. By the end of next week, they'll be able to put on full pads. South Carolina starts practice next Friday .