Preparing to play football in hot weather is the norm for high school teams during the summer and that will be even more important this year because of a scheduling change.
For teams in the CIF Central Section, the entire athletic calendar has been moved up a week which means teams in the Central Valley will most likely play up to three football games in August.
Kingsburg football coach David Wilson said he has concerns over the air quality for the games in August, which could have kickoff temperatures near 100 degrees.
“Every year, there is one or two games threatened by air quality,” Wilson said, “or threatened by some sort of fire mixed in with the heat. When you move everything up like that you’re kind of susceptible to that a little bit more, so that is a little frustrating.”
The CIF Section playoffs are now scheduled a week earlier than last year and will be played on Nov. 2, 9 and 16 followed by the finals on Nov. 23-24. The CIF Regionals are Nov. 30-Dec.1 and the state championship games will occur on Dec. 7-8.
The Vikings open the season at home against San Joaquin Memorial on Aug. 17 and have a three-way scrimmage with Lemoore and Roosevelt high schools a week prior. Kingsburg’s next two games will be against Washington Union (home on Aug. 24) and a road matchup against Monache on the final Friday of August.
Last season, Kingsburg didn’t play its first game of the 2017 campaign until Sept. 1.
This year’s opening season game against San Joaquin Memorial will occur before Kingsburg High School starts classes on April 20.
“Scheduling wise for us it is frustrating because we don’t start school until the 20th [of August],” Wilson said. “So we’re going to have our first home game when we haven’t even started school yet. That just seems a little weird, but you start football in the heat anyways. It doesn’t matter what time you start.”
Selma football coach Matt Logue said the calendar change did have some impact on their preparation during the summer.
“It’s football, we’re used to playing in the heat,” Logue said. “There’s not a lot you can do about it, you just try to manage it.”
The Bears start the season on the road against Kerman on Aug. 17, which is a week earlier than last year’s opening game between the two squads.
During the summer, the two programs have taken a different approach to practicing. The Vikings practiced from 6 to 8 p.m. and the Bears started at 5:45 a.m.
Logue said early morning practice avoids the heat and accommodates players who are attending summer school at 8 a.m.
“We get here early in the morning and get it done,” Logue said. “[Players] have the rest of the day to swim, [hang out] with friends, do what they need to do. They just have to know to get back up early the next morning.”
Wilson said the team practices in the evening to prepare for games, which start at 7:30 p.m.
“We have to get acclimated to [the heat],” Wilson said. “Soon as school starts we practice at 3:30 anyway so it doesn’t matter, we’re all going to be in the heat by that time.”
The two squads are currently off from practice until July 23 when they start two-times-a-day (double days) practice. The early calendar change will provide Selma and Kingsburg football teams four weeks to prepare for their first game. One of the practices on the double days will include a conditioning and weight room session.
Jacob Orosco, Selma special teams coordinator and wide receiver/defensive backs coach, said that the coaching staff might have to end or condense certain sessions to work on other things at practice since they have a week less to prepare for the start of the season.
“It is a little difficult,” Orosco said. “We've got a timeline and we've got to hit it.”