Most of Franklin County's football teams felt like they were ahead of the game on Monday, the first day of official PIAA practice.
And for good reason.
"Last week, we had five great days that were beautiful (for heat acclimation)," Waynesboro first-year coach Steve Myers said. "It was a long day (Monday), but not bad. We considered last week the first day of practice, and having the guys out there last week was great considering we start school Wednesday."
Many teams were in a time crunch, due to Waynesboro, Shippensburg and Chambersburg all starting school just two days into practice. Greencastle-Antrim was also unable to do full-day practices because of in-service work days.
"Five of our coaches teach in the high school, so we can only practice in the afternoon," Blue Devil coach Chuck Tinninis said. "We're ahead because of the heat acclimation that we had, but it will equal out at the end because we're losing some practice time this week."
Monday was actually hotter than any day of heat acclimation, with the temperature reaching 96 degrees in Mercersburg, where James Buchanan took to the practice field.
"The guys having heat acclimation certainly helped, but the heat today was a little tougher than they expected, I think," Rockets coach Andy Stoner said. "But the guys got plenty of reps last week, so we still feel like we're a step ahead of where we were in some years."
Stoner and the Rockets are once again working with the smallest area roster, with only 32 on the squad. Greencastle, on the other hand, had 71 kids show up for Day 1.
On the first day, Chambersburg had what coach Mark Saunders called "his kind of practice."
"I thought it went great, actually," Saunders said. "We did some things today that we probably wouldn't have done until Day 3 in the past, so we're a lot farther ahead in that aspect. But it was my type of practice – we had a lot of energy and the kids were out there supporting each other."
But despite the local teams feeling confident on Day 1, there is still room for improvement.
Tinninis said his main focus on the first day was always getting the guys back in football mode. Myers undertook a similar strategy.
"Discipline is probably the biggest focus on the first days of practice," Myers said. "We're cleaning things up – cleaning up the little details."
Saunders said, "We're always going to focus on the fundamentals early on, and we've got a lot of work to do. I don't think we're catching the ball as well as we can, but that may just be a matter of getting reps. We still have a long way to go."
Stoner had the same sentiments.
"My big thing is that we gotta go quicker," Stoner said. "We're just too slow, but I think that's because we're going against ourselves. We need to see a scrimmage real quick because the guys seemed to be dragging a bit. For instance, they're tackling pretty well, but we're just not at the speed that we need to be."
Luckily, it's only Day 1.
Sports reporter Shawn Michael contributed to this report.