Bossier Parish high school football teams have been holding informal workouts all summer, but Monday was the first official day of practice.
Players were allowed to don shoulder pads for the first time. Thursday is the first day teams can practice in full gear, although many coaches choose to go with helmets, shoulder pads and shorts with thigh pads.
At Benton Monday, coaches encouraged players to be a little more aggressive in drills because they were wearing shoulder pads.
The temperature was in the low 90s with a cloud cover and a breeze at the start of practice, but the heat index was 102.
Tuesday was a different story with a high of 97 and little cloud cover in the afternoon.
Last year, Bossier Parish pushed all after-school activities in August back to 6:30 p.m. when temperatures soared into the 100s with head indices in the high 100s.
Based on the short-term forecast, players and coaches probably won’t be facing the same situation this month. Forecast highs through next Thursday are in the low to mid-90s.
That doesn’t mean, though, that players aren’t still at risk for heat-related illness or heatstroke.
Benton coach Caleb Guidry calls it a “tricky” situation because with the cooler weather, players may push themselves harder without realizing the effect the humidity has on them.
Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing coach Coy Brotherton said he and his staff keep a close eye on the players and insist they inform them if they start feeling ill.
All schools allow unlimited access to fluids.
“We take a lot of breaks,” Brotherton said. “We’ve shortened the practices to about 90 minutes.”
- Aug. 16 — Haughton at North DeSoto, 5:30 p.m.
- Aug. 17 — Parkway at Calvary, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 17 — Red River at Bossier, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 17 — Airline at Benton, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 17 — Fair Park at LNT/Plain Dealing, 6 p.m.