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Hartselle gets in the swing of practice

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

As July ends and August begins, summer beings to slowly morph into back into school and the fall season.

However, in Hartselle many welcome that change because it means the start of Football season. The excitement of a new season is in the air, and it was definitely there when the Tigers rolled out for their first day of practice.

Senior linebacker Scout Alexander was thrilled to be back.

“It’s just great to be out here with everybody healthy,” Alexander said. “We have had a great off-season and summer, and it just feels good to finally get out here and practice.” There was no contact going on Monday as the Tigers were in shorts due to AHSAA regulations, but that didn’t dampen their spirits.

They split into individual position groups for the first half of practice as they used their time in shorts to focus on form and technique. Then the Tigers worked in team drills, going through their plays as they prepared for their first day of full pads Aug. 7.

Being back in practice was especially exciting for senior wide receiver Kyle Hamlett who was forced to sit out last season after just two games due to an illness.

“It just felt great to be back out there with all my friends,” Hamlett said. “It just felt like there was an emptiness after what happened last year, and being back out here definitely helped fill it.”

Tigers head coach Bob Godsey had plenty to say about Hamlett’s return.

“Kyle’s a great player,” Godsey said. “He was close to playing as a sophomore and was most likely going to have a good year last year. It’s unfortunate what happened, but I know he will turn it around this year.”

However, the Tigers were forced to battle the intense summer heat.

“It was a scorcher out there,” Godsey said, “but I thought they handled it well for the most part, and we had a good practice.”

Temperatures this summer have been especially hot, and that was expressed clearly at practice. Players were encouraged to drink no less than a gallon of water between practices as well as eating well to make sure their bodies didn’t react sluggishly to the heat.

The Tigers will practice every day en route to their annual preseason scrimmage Meet the Tigers, which is set for Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. Then the Tigers will begin preparation for their first game, which will be a trip to Pinson Valley to face the Indians.

The last time they faced Pinson Valley, the Tigers were narrowly defeated in overtime during the first round of the playoffs in 2013.

Alexander said the team is excited for a rematch.

“Our last game against them definitely stung,” Alexander said. “Last year we got them at home, but now we get to take it to them on their home turf and we’re all excited.”

Hartselle will play Pinson Valley Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.

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