HUNTERSVILLE Early Friday morning, North Mecklenburg football coach Brad Baker wasnt going over plans for the Vikings opening day of practice.
Instead, Baker was staring intently at his smartphone, looking at a sea of green signifying rain that covered the screen and hoping for a break in the weather.
Well, weve got to practice sometime, Baker said. Might as well be now.
North Meck opened its first practice of the 2014 season in a driving rain and unseasonably cool temperatures It doesn't feel like Aug. 1; it feels more like Nov. 1, Baker said that left players, coaches, even the trainers and managers soaking wet and feeling a little chilled.
While the weather didnt make for the best practice the rain-slickened field made footing treacherous, and wet footballs made dropped passes the norm it still marked the start of the countdown to the Vikings season opener against Lake Norman on Aug. 22.
Its a very exciting feeling to get out here and finally start the season, said senior defensive end Desmond Logan, one of seven returning starters from last year's 4-7 team. We can finally work everything out, get our defenses and offenses in, and get ready for Lake Norman.
The numbers also offer an encouraging sign for North Mecklenburg, which last made the state playoffs in 2009. According to Baker, more than 100 players were issued equipment this season, up from 72 players in 2012 and 84 players last season.
We've been working together pretty much all summer, but to finally get to this point is big, senior quarterback Nolan Bradley said. This has been the best summer weve had since Ive been here, just the energy thats come from it. Weve gotten better every year so far, so were ready to take that next step and make the playoffs.
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