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How Franklin Co. is adjusting to the heat

Hooting and hollering could be heard all around James Buchanan's campus on Wednesday evening.

JB's football players, wrapping up their third day of heat acclimation, had a chance to feel the breeze on their faces during a round of full-speed drills. Their intensity and hype was obvious.

"Well, we're trying to be different this year," Rocket senior Trevor Layton said. "Teams in the past have been a bit bland, but we want to be excited and ready for the season, so we can kick it off and make an improvement."

It's still a few weeks away from kickoff, but this week, PIAA football teams were allowed to take the field officially for the first time for five days of heat acclimation. The teams are still restricted to wearing only shoulder pads and helmets and cannot practice for more than five hours a day.

"For us, it's just five days of going through offense, defense and special teams," Greencastle's Jacob Hockman said. "We're just getting ready for the intensity of (preseason). We've been blessed the first two days, but today (Wednesday), it really warmed up."

Temperatures, which had been in the low 80s, soared to nearly 100 on Wednesday.

"Today was hottest, definitely," Layton said. "You just gotta drink a lot of water, though. Earlier was really hot, but tonight, it cooled off a little bit. We could see the intensity pick up, which is a great thing. All the compliments Coach (Andy Stoner) has been saying have been real positive, so I think we're going to be further than they thought we were going to be next week."

Because there are no restrictions on what exactly teams can do, the regimens around Franklin County vary. But most agree that the extra week of heat acclimation is beneficial ahead of the true start of practice.

"Yeah, i t's a really good thing because starting with this, we know what's coming for us and we know what it's going to be like," Shippensburg's Denny Santana-Encarnacion said. "One of the things we do is really work on our agility - getting off the ball, sprinting to the line of scrimmage and getting to the play. Defensively, we look pretty good. We're fast off the ball, and we attack well."

And with three full weeks of practice beginning on Monday, Franklin County's teams still have a lot of time to get ready for Week 1.