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Thomson tackles heat in first week

As high school football season approaches, the summer heat isn't slowing the Thomson Bulldogs down at practice. With 100 degree temperatures in the first week back on the field, Coach Luther Welsh said some adjustments have been made to ensure the players' safety.


Thomson High Offensive Coordinator Mark Daniel leads an offensive line drill last week.

Water breaks come every 15 to 20 minutes to keep the players hydrated. Also, the Bulldogs' new trainer, Brooks Johnson, keeps iced down towels at the ready for players who have run a good deal during drills.

But Coach Welsh said his team had worked hard in the off season and was ready to deal with practice in the heat.

"They lifted weights all summer. They did a lot of agility work after they did their weight lifting, so they weren't in too bad a shape for this kind of weather," he said.

Coaches across the state are exercising even more caution after the death of a 15-year-old Rockdale County student following a voluntary football workout on Monday of last week.

Thomson is no stranger to heat-related illness during summer practice. Former Offensive lineman Arcephus Jones missed his entire junior season in 2004 due to extensive kidney and liver damage after suffering a heat stroke at practice.

"You've got to be concerned about it," Coach Welsh said of the recent death in Rockdale County. "We had one two years ago. Thank the Lord he didn't die."

The coaches stressed proper nutrition and hydration, not only during practice but also during the rest of the day. They said from breakfast to bed time, players need to eat properly and drink plenty of water.


THS Head Coach Luther Welsh leads players in warm-ups.

This week, practice was stepped up a notch. After three days last week in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, practice began Monday in full pads. Luckily for players and coaches, temperatures fell a few degrees from last week's heat indices around 110.

Despite all the hard work so far, not much is settled as to who will play where, Coach Welsh said. With many young players stepping into starting roles, he said he's only certain about a few positions.

Anthony "Pooh" Erwin will return to quarterback this year, since Jarrell McNair is no longer on the team. The backfield should look similar to last year's with LaBrandon Hudson and D.T. Brown seeing a lot of touches for the Bulldogs.

Web posted on Thursday, August 10, 2006

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