The numbers were typical. The heat for early August was typical. And as one may already know, the expectations are typical.
This morning, Bridgeport High School kicked off the 2019 football season with the first of several weeks of prep before kicking off the season August 30 at Lewis County.
There were 46 youngsters on hand in grades 10 through 12. That number was higher for the freshman who voluntarily showed up to compete.
“That’s around average and everyone was here that we expected to be here with a few additions,” said Coach John Cole. “I’m sure there are a couple of the better athletes in the school that aren’t here and that’s the case at a lot of places, but we’ve got the kids that we counted on last year here.”
With temperatures in the 80s during the latter part of the morning session and the number even higher on the turf, Cole didn’t see anything unusual. Again, he said it was typical.
“I guess they handled it okay and some not real good. It’s pretty much the same each year,” said Cole. “The ones who come and work in the off season in January to this point may be a bit stressed, but get through everything. The ones who don’t and are there inconsistently from January are behind the eight ball because they’re tired and they can’t think well.”
Cole said the team has been told to monitor themselves with the heat as they know their bodies better than anyone else. The players are made aware signs of heat stress and things to be aware of and they’re asked to let coaches and training staff know of any situation.
“We leave a lot of it up to them, but we have to watch them all; some more than others. There are some that keep going no matter what and those are the ones you keep closer tabs on,” said Cole. “We do have an area for the kids to go to with the trainer and it’s his job once they get there. They’re aware of how to deal with this.”
As for dealing with the upcoming season that now includes a matchup with Class AAA power Morgantown, the Indians that too is the same.
“Our expectations don’t change, but we go and attempt those expectations one at a time. The initial goals are to have a winning season and win the (Big 10) Conference,” said Cole. “After that, all of our other goals can start falling into place if we meet those.”
Bridgeport finished 11-2 a season ago. The Tribe, for the third straight year, fell just short of getting back to the Class AA state championship game by falling in the semifinals. BHS, for the second year in a row, lost to Bluefield to close of its season.