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Column: Practice limits no win deal

By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
The high school football season doesn’t officially kick off for more than three months, but that won’t stop schools from hitting the field for spring games this month.
Hartselle’s spring game with Sparkman will be played tonight at J.P. Cain Stadium at 7 p.m.
Four other schools will wrap up spring practice next week with games or intrasquad scrimmages.
West Morgan will play at Priceville next Thursday, while Brewer will face Southside at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Danville will also play Friday in a 7 p.m. spring game against Cold Springs at home.
Falkville won’t be playing a spring game, instead choosing to play an intrasquad game Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m.
In short, it has been a busy spring for all five area schools as they try to work around spring sports schedules, weather, proms and graduation.
But this year has been a bit more worrisome for high school football coaches under a new mandate from the Alabama High School Athletic Association that reduced the number of spring practice dates from 15 to 10.
The new change has meant that practice time has been at a premium for programs as they wrap up the school year and get ready for summer workouts.
Ten practice dates have dampened the importance of spring football games because teams really can’t get into game condition in just two weeks.
The AHSAA, assumedly, put the 10-day rule into effect after looking at some of the surrounding states.
The ruling was met with mixed reaction.
With the addition of summer workout rules and 7-on-7 camps, spring football is no longer as important as it was in the past, especially at schools with established programs.
Larger schools, like Hartselle and Brewer, have plenty of returning players with game experience. So a spring game might just be a way to knock off the rust.
But for small 1A and 2A schools, the spring can be instrumental in getting some younger players used to game-type situations that you can create in practices.
But coaches will just take the 10 days and try to use them wisely.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at todd.thompson@hartselleenquirer.com

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