Seahawks enjoy some 'midnight madness'|Players excited about opening camp

Published 10:30 am Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sports Editor

CHOCOWINITY — Willie Ruffin Jr. sprinted around the field with a purpose. Sam Jarman raced around the grass like he had 10 cups of coffee in him.
All of this coming just after midnight. The Southside Seahawks kicked off their first official practice of the season just after midnight Saturday, getting a jump-start on most teams.
“They’re excited and they’re ready to get started,” Southside head coach David Hines said after addressing his team shortly before the players hit the field. “We’ve got well over 50 (players) and six to eight more will be here Monday. We’re looking to have between 60 and 70 players.”
Hines said the Seahawks, 1-10 a year ago, were ready to get going.
“I know the excitement is there,” he said. “They’re just ready to go.”
Ruffin said he was happy to be practicing at midnight.
“I like it,” the senior said. “We’ll see who’s out here ready to play football.”
The speedy, athletic wide receiver said he’s hoping all the hard work will pay off with more victories for his team.
“I want to win more games than we’ve been winning,” Ruffin said. “If we stay together as a team, we should be successful.”
In order for that to happen, Jarman said his teammates will have to play as one.
“We have to come together as a team more than we did in the past,” said Jarman, a senior middle linebacker. “I just want to keep the guys up as best I can.”
Southside went through some conditioning drills early at practice, then broke off into positional groups.
The team then got together and ran through a series of plays.
“Reps, reps, reps; that’s what we’re trying to get done now,” Hines said. “We want to set the expectations now so when the season starts in three weeks, it’s not another set of expectations.”
Expectations weren’t too high for the Seahawks last year after an 0-10 record in 2006. Southside ended a 21-game losing streak with a 34-33 win over Northside in the annual Anchor Bowl, coming in the final week of the regular season.
“I think we turned some minds around,” Ruffin said about the win. “Nobody thought we could do it, but we did it. We were able to overcome adversity.”
Hines believes the excitement of that win has carried over into this season.
“Whether it was midnight or 6 a.m., I think they’re just excited and ready,” Hines said. “They’re ready for the season to actually start.”
Hines, his staff and players certainly showed some excitement during the midnight practice.
“It’s a great time of year,” Hines said. “I don’t think you can match the excitement of this, except for maybe March Madness with basketball. High school football is the thing in North Carolina and I’m lucky to be a part of it, and so are these kids.”
The Seahawks open the season Aug. 21 at home against North Duplin.