By David Purdum / For the AJC
That cool spell in August felt nice, but football teams are suffering the consequences now. Cramping and conditioning have been a problem during the first two weeks of the season, seemingly more so than usual.
Marist coach Alan Chadwick noticed the impact of the cooler preseason early in the War Eagles’ opening win over Clarke Central.
“We did cramp some, but more importantly and more concerning we got gassed early in the game,” Chadwick said in an email. “The humidity was unlike anything we have experienced so far this year and that was the problem. With all the rain and relatively cooler weather we have been having this pre-season, I was concerned how we would handle it once it got really hot and humid like it was Friday night.”
The fourth-ranked War Eagles won’t catch a break from the heat and humidity this week. They head to Thomas County Central in South Georgia, where Friday temperatures are expected to be in the nineties with intense humidity. The Gatorade, water and pickle juice will be flowing.
Garland Huff has been an athletic trainer at Marist for 23 years. He encourages players to drink 100 ounces of fluids in the 24 hours leading up to a game. During the approximately four-hour trip to Thomasville, each player will be given four bottles of sports drink or water. The heaviest sweaters will receive some time-released electrolytes about an hour before the game.
Diane King is an athletic trainer at South Forsyth and nutrition expert. She spent 13 years as a nutrition consultant for the Atlanta Falcons. She believes the hydration process must occur throughout the week and recommends a mix of sports drinks and water. For meals the night before a game, King suggests baked potatoes and pasta.
“The main thing is drinking throughout the week and not relying on your thirst to make you drink,” King said. “You want to have a plan of how much and when you will be drinking, so they know how much they’ve had and their target amount.”
Marist isn’t the only team that uses pickle juice to fight cramps. They keep a jar in a cooler on the sideline, offering it to any player that wants some. King says the vinegar component of the pickle juice is why people believe it’s affective.
“It works for some, not so much for others. Same with mustard,” she added.
An ugly brawl between coaches erupted after an Alabama high school football game last week. Walker head coach John Holladay has been placed on administrative leave, while the Alabama High School Association investigates. Cullman County defensive coordinator Matt Hopper had yet to be disciplined as of Tuesday.
Here’s hoping punishments are swift and severe. Ridiculous.
–The Howard Huskies are looking for their first winning streak in program history. The Macon school is in its sixth season. It ended a 24-game losing streak with a win over East Laurens on Friday. The Huskies have never won two games in a row.
–Westside, Macon’s Daqavius Walker caught five passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns and also passed for 104 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Central last week.