August 10, 2010

Notebook: Alaska kicks off football season

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It's here.

High school football officially kicked off over the weekend, as teams in Alaska were the first in the nation to play games that matter.

The RivalsHigh top team in the state, Anchorage (Alaska) Bartlett, squeaked out a win over North Pole (Alaska) High, 32-27.

But in one of the more surprising results, Fairbanks (Alaska) West Valley handily defeated the RivalsHigh state No. 3 team in Anchorage (Alaska) East, 27-14.

Senior running back Will Vealy had 11 carries for 87 yards in the non-conference win and added on a 35-yard touchdown reception as well.

It was the first win for first-year head coach Daniel Esparza.

For complete coverage of opening weekend of Alaska football, visit

Missouri: Extreme heat moves football practice indoors

With the extreme heat and humidity of a brutal Midwestern summer, high school teams preparing for fall sports are being forced to take it easy, or take it indoors.

Monday was the first day of practice at Missouri high schools. KTVI-TV reports that strict rules are now in place. Breaks every 30 minutes are mandatory when the heat index hits 95 degrees. Breaks must be every 15 minutes at a heat index of 100 degrees. At 105 degrees, practice has to stop or move inside.

Many teams are now practicing indoors as the heat index this week could reach well above 105 degrees. Others are practicing early morning, such as the Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West football team that began its Tuesday practice at 6:30 a.m.

A noted sports nutritionist recommends proper hydration and nutrition for any athlete practicing or working out in extreme temperatures.

The hot spell is expected to continue through at least the weekend.

Utah: Football staff to undergo CPR training

Members of Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood High School's football staff are getting CPR training this week in honor of the school's former coach, who died of an apparent heart attack last month.

The Red Cross says interim coach Josh Lyman decided to have the school's staff and volunteers get certified and be prepared for medical emergencies.

The 11 members will take part in a special Red Cross class Thursday afternoon at the school.

Cottonwood coach Teko Johnson was found dead in a hotel room July 21 in Atlantic City, N.J. He was 41.

Arizona: Thieves steal bleachers from Mesa schools

Mesa police are checking with scrap metal dealers to track down thieves responsible for stealing $20,000 worth of aluminum bleachers from various Mesa schools.

Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Ed Wessing says there have been 14 thefts, and some schools have been hit repeatedly. The latest theft occurred Aug. 5 at Taylor Junior High School.

The number of benches stolen has varied. Mesa (Ariz.) High is missing enough benches to make several sections of their bleachers unusable.

Wessing says police assume the bleachers are being recycled somewhere.

Metal recyclers require documentation of large quantities of metal brought in, which could lead police to the person or people responsible for the thefts.

Georgia: Pastor arrested for protesting demon mascot

Police have arrested a pastor in Georgia for protesting outside a high school against its demon mascot.

Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh said 36-year-old Donald Crosby was arrested Monday in the central Georgia city of Warner Robins.

Crosby and supporters picked the opening day of classes to protest against the pitchfork-wielding mascot. Crosby, of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ, says his son attends the school and he doesn't want him exposed to the name's devilish connotations.

Crosby was charged with picketing without a license and disorderly conduct. He was released on bond. He did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

School officials say the mascot honors a World War II fighter squadron nicknamed the "Screamin' Demons."

Ohio: High school approves athlete drug testing

Following in the footsteps of two other Ohio Valley Athletic Conference member schools, Barnesville (Ohio) High will begin drug testing for its student-athletes.

By a unanimous 4-0 vote last week, the Barnesville Exempted Village School District's Board of Education approved a drug testing policy. One board member was absent from the marathon meeting.

"We're going to go out and get a little bit of training for our people," Principal Jeff Crosier said. "Then we're going to enter into contract with the company we're working with."

He said he hopes to finalize all the details in time for the fall sports seasons.

"We've talked at length with Cambridge [(Ohio) High] and Martins Ferry [(Ohio) High]," Athletic Director Mark Cook said. "All three of us are going to be using the same company for these tests."

Cook said every student-athlete will be subjected to an initial test, and that all student-athletes are subject to random testing during the course of the school year.

According to Cook and Crosier, Cambridge started drug testing its student-athletes a year ago, while Martins Ferry started its program Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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