Football teams battle weather for practice time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Heavy rains and thunderstorms have left many Shelby County high school football teams unsatisfied with their pre-season preparations.

Coaches and players from around the county have had to wait out the weather on nearly a daily basis in their final weeks of preparation for the upcoming season, making some coaches nervous that their players might not be ready for the start of the season.

&uot;We’ve had to go into the gym a number of times already,&uot; Cornerstone Christian head coach Tim Smith said. &uot;You end up calling practices short at a time when the team really needs to be outside as much as possible.&uot;

Cornerstone’s hometown of Columbiana has seen more than 3.24 inches of rain the past two weeks alone according to the Weather Channel’s website. The entire month of August usually averages around 3.7 inches of rain in the central Shelby County area.

No area of the county, however, seems to have avoided the onslaught of bad weather.

Shelby Academy head coach Dewayne Kervin has seen his share of bad weather in the past few weeks and said he is tired of wondering whether his team can get a full practice in on a daily basis.

&uot;It seems like we’re always rushing to get practice in before the rain comes,&uot; Kervin said. &uot;It can really mess up the team’s timing, and it has definitely gotten in the way of our preparations.&uot;

There is little hope in sight, forecasters say, for the weather pattern to change anytime soon. The Weather Channel predicts there will be at least a 30 percent chance of rain throughout Alabama for most of the remainder of August.

Montevallo head coach Jim King said his team has had to make adjustments, but they’ve tried hard to not let it effect them.

&uot;It’s affected us some,&uot; he said. &uot;But overall, I think we’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve only had to go in to the gym one time so far.&uot;

King said that while it would be nice for his team to have an upper hand from being able to practice outside more than other squads, he thinks other coaches will have their squads ready on time.

&uot;Gym practice is never the same as outside practices,&uot; he said. &uot;But I think a lot of teams are trying to get practices in whatever way they can.&uot;

Smith is one of those coaches. He said his team has been trying to adjust to the weather in hopes that they will avoid missing crucial practice time.

&uot;We switched our workouts around a good bit,&uot; he said. &uot;Some days, we end up practicing and then heading inside to lift. Usually we would do it the other way around.&uot;

Smith noted that every coach has had to deal with the bad weather and he said he hopes that will keep the playing field even.

&uot;Hopefully, it will all even out in the end,&uot; he said. &uot;No coach ever has enough time to be fully prepared by the start of the season, so this surely doesn’t help.&uot;

Shelby Academy opens up its regular season schedule at Glenwood on Aug. 27 while Cornerstone heads to Sumter for their regular season opener that same night. The Montevallo Bulldogs will welcome Calera High School on Aug. 26