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Getting an early start

Football teams in Bureau County and statewide got a head start on the 2014 season Monday, taking advantage of the earlier start-up time allowed by the IHSA.

A year ago, the IHSA implemented safety regulations, in lieu of recent deaths across the country due to heat stroke, mandating three-hour practice limits for the first five days of practice. With those regulations still in place, area coaches are pleased with the earlier start-up time.

“I think the extra days will benefit us as far as getting into full pads on Saturday and not having to wait until Tuesday. It will also help with our conditioning,” said third-year Hall head coach Randy Tieman.

It’s especially beneficial for first-year coach Spencer Davis at Bureau Valley as he gets acclimated on his new job.

“The more time the better,” he said.

While the extra two days has “helped out a ton,” Princeton coach Jesse Snyder said, it’s been a continuation to their summer workouts.

“We’ve done a lot of things in the summertime, utilizing our 25 contact days to get us ready to go. Things have gone pretty crisp. It’s a lot of technique stuff right now, finetuning everything we need to get done, offensively and defensively and special teams.”

As mandated a year ago, teams are still required to have five days without pads and contact. They will all go at it with full gear Saturday.

Here’s a breakdown at the area camps.

At Bureau Valley: Davis not only returns to his hometown, where he played quarterback at the former Manlius High School before the BV consolidation in 1995, he’s returned to his old field, moving BV practices down the street from BVHS to Bourquin Field.

“I love it. It’s nice to go there. Brings back some good memories,” he said.

The new BV coach said the Storm have about 45 kids out in the program.

At Hall: Tieman said Monday’s first practice went well after the 10-day break they had from summer sessions. Hall has 42 players out on the varsity with 21 more on the F/S squad.

They are practicing from 3:30 to 6:20 p.m. this week with a double on Saturday, Tieman said.

The Red Devils reached the playoffs last year for the first time in five years reaching the second round. They will kick off the season at home at Nesti Stadium Aug. 29 vs. Bureau Valley.

At Princeton: The Tigers opened camp with 52 players, evenly split between the varsity and F/S units. PHS will host its annual Blue-White Scrimmage and Meet the Tigers Night on Aug. 22 and open the season a week later at home at Bryant Field vs. Morrison.

At St. Bede: The Bruins had about 40 gridders in camp when practice opened up Monday. They will entertain Amboy/LaMoille for the Aug. 29 season opener.

• Look for insights on area teams and the upcoming season in the annual BCR Kickoff Section on Aug. 28.

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