Forget all about beating the heat.

Mooresville High School’s football team made the conscious decision to join it instead.

The Blue Devils broke the huddle for what was their first official formal pre-season practice session during the middle portion of the day Thursday to get the formal preparation process underway.

Following a 3 p.m. team meeting, athletes hit the artificial surface inside Mooresville’s Coach Joe Popp Stadium some 15 minutes or so later to officially pop the cork on the pre-season phase of the fall season’s schedule.

Approximately 100 strong athletes seeking spots on either the program’s varsity and/or junior varsity rosters donned their helmets and cleats while dressed out in light garb consisting of shorts and a collection of T-shirts and/or tank tops for the scheduled opening two-hour long session.

Mooresville joined rank and file with programs throughout the surrounding area as well as the state in officially getting into the practice mode.

“This,” said Thad Wells, entering his second season as the Devils head coach, to his field full of prospects, “is what football is really all about. It’s what you do when you’re hot and not in real condition that helps make you a winner. This is where it starts.”

For Mooresville, it’s already underway.

The Blue Devils are coming off a successful season during which they fashioned a 9-4 overall highlighted by the making as deep as a second-round appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s smaller-enrollment 4A class playoffs. Following a top-tier finish in the powerhouse I-Meck Conference and a first-round playoff win at home over McDowell County, Mooresville drew its campaign to a close with a round-two loss to higher-seeded Greensboro Grimsley.

It all starts fresh from here.

Once arriving on the field, the Devils engaged in a round of warm-up exercises as a group to start the session. Following that phase, the team broke into several smaller-sized groups for a routine of drills taking place at locations around the site.

By getting their start in the mid-afternoon, the Blue Devils were able to complete all their assigned duties in their inaugural practice session just ahead of the arriving strong weather system that forced a number of surrounding teams to either cut short their sessions or move the workouts into a protected indoor facility.

For Mooresville, the start of one phase of the preparation phase served to coincide with the ending of another.

Just prior to kicking off the required portion of the pre-season practice phase, the Blue Devils conducted a voluntary minicamp that that also attended by the majority of the same players.

For such starters, team members were limited by dress codes. As required, players must participate in a set number of practices donning only light garb before progressing on through the various stages. The Devils will move on into the wearing of shoulder pads for more practice sessions before making the move to full equipment by the close of the first full week of pre-season workouts.

For Mooresville, like many other teams, plans are being made for the beginning of the more meaning portion of the pre-season process.

The Blue Devils are on track to engage in the first of their two scheduled controlled scrimmages when traveling in the county to take on South Iredell Aug. 10. Less than week later, Mooresville will once again fill the role of the home team for a scheduled multi-team Carolina Preps Jamboree set to take place on Aug. 16.

MHS kicks off its regular season at home against West Rowan Aug. 23.

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