West Alabama high school football team beats the heat at its own game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) — If you think it’s hot walking from your car to your office, imagine what it’s like for football players. It’s the scorching days of summer with temperatures in the 90s for several days in a row, and they’re feeling it.

This reason can be summed up in three words: beat the heat. And that’s precisely what they’re doing these days on the grounds of Northridge High School.

With the sun setting in Tuscaloosa the temperature soared pretty quickly to 90 plus and it was well before noon.

“I’ve been through it more often and I know what to expect,” Wilkin Formby said.

Wilkin Formby weighs in at 6′8″ 300 pounds with a future in the college ranks and maybe beyond, but even Formby recognizes that there are things in life you can’t tackle. Heat is one.

“Because it’s dangerous and it can surprise you for sure,” he said.

“We have hydration stations,” head coach Ryan Lolley said.

Veteran soccer coach Ryan Lolley said his team started summer training last week and deliberately started at 8 a.m.

“It’s cooler in the morning, so the main thing is to get them here from 7 a.m. and get them up,” Coach Lolley said.

And it’s up to athletic trainer Katie Golan to provide plenty of liquid nearby for the players, three 20-gallon cold water coolers. It’s liquid gold for times like these.

“We stick to the basics. We have 85 guys here. We have water and ice here in the field and we have Gatorade when they come for a break. I went to school for it and have dealt with it many times before,” Golan said.

At 10 a.m. the players have finished their drills to take a break, then they’ll return to the field for a scrum with a healthy respect for the heat, a smart game plan to stay hydrated and healthy.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association has imposed certain requirements on how long and when high school football teams can practice in the heat. Part of those rules include practicing only with helmets and shorts when the temperature hits a certain degree, like the case Wednesday morning at Northridge High School.

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