When the clock strikes midnight and the calendar turns from July to August on Saturday, Whitefield Academy coach Coleman Joiner will have his team in full pads on the practice field.
In a nod to college basketball’s annual “Midnight Madness,” the Wolfpack will take the field the first minute they are allowed, with the hopes of getting off to a fast start for another successful season.
“We want to be the very first team in Georgia practicing this fall,” Joiner said.
Saturday is the first day high school football players can practice in pads in Georgia. Teams will also have at least two extra weeks of practice after the Georgia High School Association pushed the beginning of the season back two weeks until Sept. 4.
Whitefield will open the season in Sandy Springs at Mount Vernon Presbyterian.
The midnight practice is not a tradition for Whitefield, but it does replace a yearly habit.
The Wolfpack typically went on a three-day trip and attended a football camp somewhere off-campus, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the team will be unable to travel this year. Joiner said he hopes the midnight practice will bring some of the same energy and motivation that the trip usually does.
“We are looking forward to getting started and having this opportunity to really get the kids excited and motivated as soon as possible,” Joiner said.
Since becoming the coach at Whitefield before the 2018 season, Joiner has seen his team improve each year. The Wolfpack finished his first season 6-5 before improving to 7-4 in 2019.