High School Football Practice begins today and Somebody Must be Living Right/The Days of the “County Fair”

Somebody must be living right, with the weather they have today, for the first day of high school football practice in 2021…

It is really nice outside, probably in the high 70’s/low 80’s for the morning practices, and probably in the low-to-mid 80’s for the afternoon/evening practices..

Time to get it all started….I would rather be going in the evening, than in the morning for practice this week….Some of the kids are still half asleep in the morning, and they should be woke up good by the time afternoon/evening practice rolls around…The coaches know what works best for them, so we will leave the practice times to them, and we will be on the prowl some this afternoon…

Heard Northwest Guilford is going with practice today from 4-8:30pm….Wonder if anybody did the Midnight Madness Practice this year??? I remember one year I was at Proehlific Park at Midnight, left there and went to Page HS, then on over to Dudley, then out to Southern Guilford HS, and finally dropped in on Ragsdale, there in Jamestown…All of those schools were doing the Midnight Madness thing back then…

Today, Grimsley seems like they would be a morning practice team….I see Page being a morning team…I see Dudley being an afternoon/evening practice team….I would say Western Guilford would still be going in the afternoon, working under true ‘Doug Henderson Tradition’…I can see Coach Doak, and Southwest Guilford, being a morning practice team…And from all of the years that I have been following them, from Coach Norwood, and now on to Coach Boykin, Ragsdale has always been an afternoon/evening practice team….I sorta of get the feeling that Southeast Guilford, Southern Guilford, and Northeast Guilford would all be afternoon practice teams…Coach Westberg, at Northern Guilford, would be a morning practice qualifier….I got a wild feeling that the Eastern Guilford Wildcats would be a morning practice team…Smith was always an afternoon practice team…New coach at Smith, with Coach Bell there this year….When I have visited then in the past, both High Point Central and High Point Andrews, have both been afternoon practice teams….

Many coaches want to go ahead and get the practice done in the morning, so they can get it done, and then they can evaluate and do season-planning the rest of the day….

Once all of the teams get through this first week of conditioning practice, and all of the dust begins to settle, Grimsley and Dudley should be the top teams in our area again…They both have returning quarterbacks, with Grimsley going with Alonza Barnett III, and Dudley going with their senior, QB Jahmier Slade….I still remember Slade back when he used to quarterback the Guilford Middle School team…Barnett has a State Championship under his belt, plus Grimsley returns RB Jeiel Melton, WR Tyson Resper, and they have one Albright gone(Lawson), and another Albright(Nolan) stepping in at TE…Grimsley returns two of the top defensive linemen in the state, in Travis Shaw and Tamorye Thompson….Shaw and Thompson are both seniors, so that is one thing the area coaches have to look forward to…

Eastern Guilford will have to find a new leader/quarterback with Kamell Smith now departed, and they lost Hezikiah Newby and James Royster too….SEG will be going with a new QB, and it should be the Stephens kid who played some back there last year for Coach Bates and his Falcons…Southwest Guilford still has Joey McGinnis IV at QB, and this will be his senior season…Northwest Guilford lost Micah Salmon to graduation, and now the NWG Vikings will look to Tanner Ballou to pilot the ship, and Ballou has been working very hard for this moment in time….Not sure what all of the other schools are going to do, but this gives you a taste of what is yet to come…..Page must also be in the business for a new QB, and a huge plus for the Pirates is that they have a healthy Traveon Hester ready at running back….

Just a taste to get you started, and all of the above is pretty much from memory, and we will have more pure and true facts on the upcoming season, coming your way this week….

I was in this line of football practice work way back in the day at Western Guilford High School, so I am one of the few from over the years, that has covered this stuff, that lived and went through this stuff…

During the Western Guilford Doug Henderson days back in the 1970’s we used to have to some real blow-out practices, and the conditioning week practices were the toughest of them all….You had some tough coaches around here back in that day with Henderson at WG, Bill Slayton at SEG, C.K. Siler at Southern Guilford, Richard Kemp at Ragsdale, Marin Kirby at Page, Claude Manzi at Smith, and others, and I think every one of those coaches that I just mentioned, is in the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame, and how crazy is that….

Doug Henderson might have been the toughest of all of those coaches, and let’s just say his conditioning week practices were not a picnic…But, we did have a part of practice that was called the “County Fair”….We used to get these printed practice plans(prior to practice), so we knew what time the “County Fair” was coming…You didn’t have any per say rides, but you did have stations…

You would start working at one station, and be there for like two minutes doing the drill non-stop, and then you would move on to another station….You are doing maybe push-ups at one station, maybe the monkey roll at another station, then maybe karaoke at another station…And not the singing karaoke, we’re talking the leg-whipping karaoke….

You did these stations for two minutes each, and there were ten different stations…As soon as you were finished at one station, then the whistle blew, and you had to run to the next station…Never any walking, run from one station/drill/ride at the “County Fair”, to the next ride at the “County Fair”…By time you got finished with this, you were about dead, and then it might time for some 100-yard sprints….

Hard times back during those conditioning weeks, back in the 1970’s…The “Hornet Boys” had to pay the price back in those days, and the price of admission to the “County Fair” did not come cheap…Like I said, you paid the price…

Years later I ran into Wayne Butler, one of the long-time leaders of the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, and we were talking about high school football practices from back in the day, and Wayne said there was something he saw one time at a Western Guilford football practice, and it was something that Coach Doug Henderson had come up with, and they called it the, “County Fair”…Wayne said, “That’s got to be the toughest drill I have ever seen in my life”….I just smiled and said, “Been there, done that, and I am not looking back”….

Some of that stuff must have paid off, I just got some mail the other day, and my old college sent me a nice decal that can put on your car, and the decal reads, “Football Letter Winner”….Nice to get some mail like that every once-in-a-while….

We posted you a real nice Opening Football Practice Day story, so enjoy, and get out there and support your local teams….

5 comments

  1. Need to drop a little Sly Stone in there: “County fair in the country sun and everything is cooooool. Hot fun in the summertime!”

  2. Sure would be nice to bring Sly and the Family Stone back for one more round of music, that would be right on…..I do miss that old tune, “Everyday People”……

  3. Page Freshman dual-threat QB named Jerron Blackwell, 6 foot 1 combo guard too. I heard he will be the back up.
    Omar Soliman is a very strong body and powerful offensive lineman.
    Tre’von Hester 6’1 225 and Paul Thompson 5’11 195, leading the running duties in the backfield.
    Adonis Payton 5’11 180 must be the lead at wideout.
    Page will always be fast and disciplined on defense. Should be a interesting year for the PAGE.

  4. You need them all, but Hester is really going to be important for Page…They need his running…

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