America's Source for High School Sports
Heat has football coaches sweating in Dallas area
Lovejoy volleyball continues to roll; Rockwall-Heath's Lowry runs rampant in scrimmage.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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In the Dallas area, two things were near all-time highs the last three weeks: Temperatures and awareness of heat-related illnesses.
The combination led some coaches to trim their practices or at least ease up on the intensity as their players practiced in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees for 18 straight days. That was a smart way to protect the players, especially considering the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said last week that heat-related illnesses sideline high school athletes for more than 9,000 days a year. (And that two-thirds of those cases happen in August, when football teams begin practice.)
But later this week the season will open with gametime temperatures at 90 degrees or higher. Will players wilt in the heat?
"You don't want to get any heat-related illnesses, so coaches have talked about shortening practices,"
coach Rodney Webb said. "But at the same time, on Friday, we're going to be playing football at 7:30 p.m. and they're not going to shorten the game or move it to midnight."
coach David Ream, whose team plays
at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, had his team practice in the mid-afternoon heat last week. That got his players acclimated to the heat, but he knows that playing on an August afternoon in Texas will be a challenge.
"I think we're acclimated to the heat," he said, "but our depth is a concern because we play so many players both ways."
Capable backups are always needed because of injuries, but this week backups will be filling in for players drained by the heat. That should work out well for coaches who like to use nondistrict games, which don't count toward the playoffs, to evaluate players.
More stories in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as football season begins:
Defending champs atop rankings:
Defending 5A Division I state champion
is at the top of the Associated Press 5A state preseason rankings, taking 15 first-place votes. The other 10 first-place votes in 5A went to
, the defending 5A Division II champ. In the 4A rankings,
Lake Travis (Austin)
begins at No. 1 in its quest for a fourth straight state title. Lake Travis took 23 of the 25 first-place votes.
was second and received two first-place votes.
3. Lovejoy volleyball team wins Texas Open:
, the two-time defending 3A state volleyball champions, won the Texas Open at Allen. Lovejoy won the title by knocking off a field loaded with larger schools, including 4A power
and top 5A teams
Marcus (Flower Mound)
4. Highland Park quarterback sharp in scrimmage:
Highland Park (Dallas)
, which must replace star quarterback Luke Woodley (now at Texas A&M), looked in good hands as senior Jake Howeth led the Scots in a scrimmage last week against
. Howeth, who started at defensive back last year, completed 16 of 20 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Highland Park last won a state title in 2005, when its quarterback was Matthew Stafford, now of the Detroit Lions.
File photo by Matt Gomez
Rockwall-Heath's Dorian Lowry.
5. Rockwall-Heath's Lowry goes huge in scrimmage:
running back Dorian Lawry carried the ball only five times, but he finished with 120 yards in a scrimmage last week against
. Lawry rushed for 972 yards and 13 touchdowns last season and is expected to be the Hawks' workhorse this year.
* The football season begins with a handful of games Thursday and a heavy load Friday. But some of the best games are Saturday, including a doubleheader at SMU's Ford Stadium featuring Highland Park vs.
. Everman and Highland Park are 1-2 in The Dallas Morning News' 4A rankings, while Allen is No. 3 and Cedar Hill is No. 7 in the 5A rankings.
* Many of the state's top cross country teams will compete Saturday at Norbuck Park in Dallas at The Greenhill/Luke's Locker Six-Mile Relay. The race features teams of four runners each taking a 1.5-mile segment. Last year's champions in the 4A/5A division were the
has orally committed to play at Boise State. "It's a great program," Agbaroji told The Dallas Morning News. "It felt like they really cared about me." … Two more defensive backs from the Dallas area also made oral commitments last week:
pledged to Wisconsin and
star Kenneth Lynn committed to Iowa State.
News and Views
Trinity opens the football season with the late, late show – a 9 p.m. start at
, a typically strong school from East Texas. The game is being played late to accommodate a broadcast on ESPNU. …
, the No. 2 team in The Dallas Morning News' area 5A rankings, begins the season Friday against
. Then comes one of the toughest stretches of schedule in the state: at
and back home against powerhouses
Stony Point (Round Rock)
. … The University Interscholastic League is packaging its biggest championship games together for the first time this year. The two-day extravaganza comes to Cowboys Stadium in December, with three title games on a Friday (3A Division II, 4A Division I and II) and two more on Saturday (5A Division I and II). With the right mix of teams, there's a good chance that the 33-year-old record for attendance at a Texas high school football game — 49,953 — could be broken. There's also a chance that Cowboys Stadium could be the site of the game in 2011, but
UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said that hasn't yet been decided
Matt Wixon is the high school sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News. He can be reached at
or on Twitter