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High schools open football practice, face afternoon deluge

OCEAN SPRINGS — High school football practice started Monday and if you practiced in the morning, all you experienced was 90-plus degree temperatures and a lot of sun.

The same could not be said for the afternoon.

Heavy rain swarmed over South Mississippi in the afternoon, preventing teams from going outside and limiting them to whatever could be accomplished indoors.

Monday was the opening day of high school football practice for all 24 teams on the Coast.

Ocean Springs coach Ryan Ross and his team were in the vortex of a driving afternoon rainstorm combined with lightning and thunder, and limited their afternoon practice to walkthroughs on special teams and classroom work with position coaches.

“Everybody now has rigorous summers,” Ross said. “What we wanted to do today was get guys coached up in special teams while we are in shorts. When we start hitting and go full-contact at the end of this week, that aspect will be done. Everybody will have a good idea of where they are playing and their responsibilities on special teams.

“It’s terrible weather and I hate it. But you have to be able to adapt and adjust. We pulled each special teams unit in and had a walk-through indoors.”

On Thursday, teams can start wearing shells (shoulder pads and helmets). On the sixth day of practice, teams can be in full array with pads.

Ocean Springs will have a late-night practice — 12:01 a.m. Saturday — which will be their sixth practice. Ross said it would last about an hour, then he would let his team sleep in the rest of the day Saturday.

D’Iberville coach Buddy

Singleton had expressed concern over the possibility of afternoon showers.

“We will build on what we did in the spring,” Buddy Singleton said. “We are talking to the defense about some changes we are making, like going to a 4-2-5 defense. Some players on offense might be going two ways.”

D’Iberville will be playing in a jamboree on Aug. 16. Other jamborees include Gautier at Biloxi, McComb at Gulfport, and Harrison Central vs. Long Beach at West Harrison High School.

Pass Christian held one practice Monday afternoon. Coach Casey Wittmann said the varsity and junior varsity teams received special teams position assignments for punts, punt return, kickoffs, kickoff return. They also worked on sending in signals from the sidelines.

Gulfport, Pascagoula and St. Patrick were three schools that started early in the morning.

First-year St. Patrick coach Tom Thompson had a new wrinkle on two-a-days. Instead of going morning and evening, they had two two-hour practices in the morning — 7-9 a.m., and after a break, from 10 a.m. to noon.

“The kids did a great job,” Thompson said.

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