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West Alabama high school football team beats heat at its own game

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 3:27 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - If you think it’s hot from just walking from your car to your office, imagine what it’s like for football players. These are the dog days of summer with temperatures in the 90s for several consecutive days, and they are feeling it.

That reason comes down to three words: beat the heat. And that is precisely what they’re doing these days on the field at Northridge High School.

With the sun bearing down in Tuscaloosa, the temperature climbed rather quickly to 90 degrees and above and this was well before noon.

“I’ve gone through it more and I know what to expect,” said Wilkin Formby.

Wilkin Formby is all of 6′8″ 300 pounds with a future in the collegiate ranks and maybe beyond, but even Formby recognizes there are some things in life you can’t tackle. The heat is one of them.

“Because it’s dangerous and it can sneak up on you for sure,” he said.

“We have hydration stations,” said Head Coach Ryan Lolley.

Veteran football coach Ryan Lolley says his team started summer practices last week and purposely started at 8 in the morning.

“It’s cooler in the morning so the main thing is we get them out here start at 7 and get them to lift,” said coach Lolley.

And it’s all up to athletic trainer Katie Golan to provide plenty of liquid nearby for the players, three 20 gallon coolers of cold water. This is liquid gold for times like these.

“We stick to the basics. We have 85 guys out here. We have water and ice out here on the field and we have Gatorade when they come in for a break. I’ve gone to school for this and dealt with this several times before,” said Golan.

By 10 a.m., the players wrapped up their drills to take a break and then they’ll head back on the field for scrimmage with a healthy respect for the heat, a smart game plan to stay hydrated and healthy.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association has handed down certain requirements about how long and when high school football teams can practice in the heat. Part of those rules include practicing only in helmets and shorts when the temperature reaches a certain degree, such as the case Wednesday morning at Northridge High School.

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