Thursday marked the first official day of practice for Nevada’s high school football squads. All three local schools were on the gridiron for two sessions. Spanish Springs participated in a morning and evening practice, while Reed and Sparks had two afternoon/evening workouts.
In his 11th year as a head football coach and sixth at Spanish Springs, Scott Hare still wakes up for the first day of practice with excitement permeating through his body.
“It always come up really fast. You go through spring ball and it feels like you have forever,” Hare said. “Then you get into camp and you’re kind of relaxed, just seeing what you have. Then you’re doing the summer stuff laughing with the kids, and all of a sudden you’re in helmets and a week away from a scrimmage. It comes on you so fast, but the nice thing is we’re in pretty good shape. I’m excited about the kids and what they already know by Day 1.”
Reed coach Ernie Howren felt the same way.
“You would think this is my first year coaching. That’s just how excited you get,” Howren said. “There are so many little administrative things that have to get done the first day. You tie that in with the excitement of getting back on the field and everything really means something now. You can’t not get excited about that.”
Of course, that excitement carries down through the ranks. During summer workouts, it’s hard to see an end in sight. However, players now know a game is about two weeks away.
“They definitely know that everything counts from here on out,” Howren said. “Not that they were ever lazy. I think our guys worked their tails off this summer. They just applied that to this fall. You can already feel it in double-days the first practice.”
Despite not being able to wear pads for the first three days of official practice and not being able to hit each other, that doesn’t take away from the intensity of those practices. Drills are run at full-speed and competition between offensive and defensive players still leads to some scuffles.
“The goal now is to ratchet up the intensity, so they understand how they need to practice everyday with gear on,” Hare said. “In the summer, I let a little more walking around happen. We joke around a little bit more. You get into this first day with helmets on, you start to get a feel that we’re going to play a game now. We’re not hitting yet, but you’re running through the same way you would.”
The Sparks Railroaders took an hour break for dinner between practices Thursday night. Coach Rob Kittrell liked what he saw in the first two hours of the new season.
“It’s good. It’s like summer school with helmets on,” Kittrell said in between practices. “The guys are definitely more excited. They know they get to put their pads on in three days. Today is just summer school continued. For us, it’s a lot more structured because we know the kids that are here today are the kids we’re going to have going into the season. The kids who aren’t here today, probably aren’t playing football. Some of our summer school kids were hit and miss, so we didn’t put as much in. Now, all our base stuff is in, and we can start building off that.”
Spanish Springs will scrimmage Bishop Manogue in two Saturdays, while Sparks will travel to Rite of Passage and Reed goes to Damonte Ranch.