Northside football battles the heat

Published 2:40 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

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By SEAN ROCCA / For The Washington Daily News

It is hard to have football practice when it feels like 100 degrees in Beaufort County. To combat the heat, head coach Keith Boyd and Panther football have practice at 7:00 in the morning so that they practice before the heat bears down on them.

This means players will not get to sleep in like most high schoolers in the summertime. Seniors Gus Vansant, Griffin Johnson, Jyshawn Gorham, Tate Gibbs, and Tyler Moore said they are up as early as 5:00 am to be ready for practice. They said even in the morning, it gets hot and the occasional breeze helps keep them cool.

The seniors said when they get up, they can’t eat much and will have a piece of toast to get them through practice. Afterward is a different story, as they “pig out” once practice is finished. They couldn’t decide if eating breakfast food, like scrambled eggs and bacon is better than lunch foods after practice, such as a big sub sandwich.

They need a big meal after practice because they are working hard and burning loads of calories. “So far this summer we have been working on fundamentals and getting back to basics,” Boyd said. “We’ve worked on catching, footwork, stances, and positioning. There have been great numbers so far and it has been really good to see everyone out here.”

The Panthers finished 7-5 last season and they are looking to improve in the fall. Boyd said they were plagued with injuries last season and the key for the fall is to keep everyone healthy and upright.

Boyd also credited his leaders for stepping up so far. “The leaders have been teaching the young guys and helping them as we go,” Boyd said. “The team follows them. If they drag, the team will drag as well but they have been excellent. This is probably the best leadership I’ve seen in all my years coaching here.”

They are excited about the upcoming season and cannot wait to be competing again. The senior leaders said they are most excited for the Anchor Bowl. They lost to Southside 10-7 last year and are itching to take back the trophy from the Seahawks.

The season will begin on August 18 at home against Camden County.