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Reporter/Times Herald area football teams hit the field in pads for first time this season

Athletes made sure to stay hydrated during the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WHITEMARSH >> The high school football season’s heat acclimatization period started Monday for area schools.

The teams had plenty of heat to get acclimated to. With temperatures rising over 90 degrees in Montgomery County, helmets were coming off every few minutes, players were keeping an eye on the water coolers and trainers stayed close by to make sure everyone was staying hydrated.

But between the breaks, football was back.

“It’s awesome being back out here,” Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Dan Chang said on the hot turf at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. “Obviously the offseason sometimes gets to be a grind. It’s nice to finally put some shoulder pads on and run through some actual stuff out here.”

It was everything one would expect from a first day of practice. The linemen hit the sleds, quarterbacks worked on timing with their receivers and running backs tried to make securing the handoff feel like second nature. With less than a month until the regular season gets started every practice is filled with optimism and hope for a successful 2018 campaign.

North Penn’s Jake Walton during heat acclimation practice on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“It feels good,” PW junior quarterback Larry McLaughlin said of getting back on the field. “I’m excited. We have a good team. I think we’re going to have a good year. It’s fun to be back playing football with your buddies.”

After an offseason of lifting weights and working on conditioning inside, teams are looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off on the actual field.

“I’m looking to see improvement,” Chang said. “We’ve done a lot of install stuff over the years. It’s a struggle — it’s really hot today. We’ve got some shoulder pads on. Some of these kids are just trying to make it through right now, but we’re looking to improve a little bit every day. I want to see guys improve on their technique in terms of what we know and what we’re able to do.”

“We’re hoping to see who we’ve got out here,” McLaughlin said, “and who really wants to play and who’s going to take the spots of the seniors who left last year. You like to see the guys who are hungry and ready to play.”

Regular practices begin next Monday after teams go through five days of heat acclimatization practices.

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