Football is back as area prep teams hit the field

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Assistant Coach Matt Timmons gives instruction during Halifax Academy’s Wednesday afternoon football practice. The Knights, like other local teams, began football practice this week.


School starts in Volusia County on Aug. 12 and local high school football teams are back on the field practicing. 

Practice began on July 29 while full-contact practice is set for Aug. 3. 

There is excitement in the air as teams try to build upon spring football and last season. 

“Everyone is just excited to get back out there. We put the pads on at the end of the week. The kids know it’s coming. They worked hard with weightlifting, conditioning and seven on seven over the summer to get better,” said Shamus Dougherty, Halifax Academy’s head coach. 

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A Halifax Academy player works on foot drills with ladder ropes.

Strategy and scheme 

Teams also want to build chemistry and implement as much strategy and scheme as possible. 

“It’s great being back on the field. We are definitely trying to build upon momentum from the spring. We’re still in the process of changing our identity, mindset and culture,’’ commented Patrick Brown,’’ Seabreeze’s head coach. 

“We also have a lot of new guys who wasn’t with us in the spring. Some guys transferred back to their zoned school. We’re also still implementing our system and style of play. 

Brown is also a first-year head coach who took over the program in January.  

Brown said, “It’s different but better being a head coach. You have to worry about other things like practice schedule, having games, finances, transportation, etc. You still value teaching and learning with your assistants and players.” 

Quick turnaround 

Football season has a quick turnaround from practice to games as teams really only have a few weeks to get ready to play.

Preseason classic games are set for Aug. 14-17. The first regular-season game is Aug. 21. 

“It’s a real quick turnaround. We got a referee challenge on Aug. 12. That’s just 12 days, then the kickoff classic, then our first game. So, you’re playing your season in just three and a half weeks,” expressed Brown. 

Dougherty echoed, “We’re a small school and most of our kids play other sports. We tried to balance out basketball and football over the summer. We have kids that did basketball last week and now coming to football. It is a quick turnaround the season starts quickly.” 

On staying hydrated 

Also, with the weather being so hot outside, schools are taking extra measures – watching out for exhaustion, heatstroke, keeping players hydrated, concussions and more. 

Dougherty stressed, “Our kids don’t have to ask to get water. They can get it whenever they feel the need. Coaches are trained and take classes on concussions, hydration and heat exhaustion and stroke. 

“We have a coach whose job is to walk around with water and make sure players are hydrated. If he feels they need water or need to come out or be looked at, it’s a done deal.”



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