Under cooler-than-usual conditions and new rules limiting time, several local high school football teams held their first fall practices on Monday.
The season is just under a month away for teams with Week 0 games and that means just a few weeks to tighten the screws in preparation for the long grueling campaign.
At San Dimas, the defending Mid-Valley Division champion Saints held their first practice under the watch of head coach Bill Zernickow. San Dimas opens the season in arguably one of the top games of the year against Monrovia on Aug. 29.
“It went fine,” Zernickow said of Monday morning’s practice. “Our guys were extremely excited to be back out there. You could see their posts on Twitter saying ‘Can’t wait for football’. That ended after about an hour.
“Nobody got hurt. I think we caught a little break in the weather. I think Sunday was a lot more humid.”
This season, coaches will have to watch the clock a lot more than usual. Under new statewide CIF rules, teams are limited to 18 hours of practice per week and no more than four hours per day.
Once the pads come on, coaches are being urged to carefully watch the amount of full-contact hitting that takes place during practice ahead of a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which goes into effect in January of 2015 and will limit the amount of time teams can have full-contact practices.
Things are already well underway at Los Altos. The Conquerors got the jump on the competition last week and held their annual midnight practice overnight Thursday into Friday.
Los Altos donned full gear and practiced into the wee hours of the morning, the video highlights of which made the social media rounds as fans get excited for the upcoming season.
The Conquerors start the season on Aug. 29 with a home game against Santa Monica. Los Altos is expected to be one of the top teams in the area.
The start of fall practice isn’t what it used to be. Now that most teams practice almost year round in some shape or form, and have extensive passing competitions early in the summer, it’s not the like the coaches and players have any introductions to do with each other.
“The new rules don’t really change what we do,” Zernickow said. “We don’t go over two hours in a day anyway. And contact doesn’t bug us either. We only hit probably 20 minutes a day, if that. We do a lot of fundamentals and skill work.”
La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti reported that his team will jump right into two-a-day practices and they did just that on Monday. The Matadores have been the recipient of several high-impact transfers this offseason as they try to bounce back from last season’s disappointing 4-7 record.
La Mirada faces one of the most difficult nonleague schedules around and starts the season with a home game against Orange County power Tesoro on Aug. 29.