High school gridders return to field

Slight increase in numbers at Three Rivers

THREE RIVERS — Cool temperatures and sunny weather greeted area football players as they headed back to the practice field on Monday.  
It was the first official day that teams across the state of Michigan were allowed to conduct practice.
All schools must conduct four days of non-contact drills, with helmets only on the first two days. Only shoulder pads may be added on the third and fourth days, and full pads may not be worn until the fifth day of practice.
Games begin Thursday, Aug. 24 with 141 varsity games scheduled around the state, 153 on Friday, Aug. 25 and 16 contests on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Three Rivers, which finished 7-3 last season and lost in the Division 4 pre-district game to Hudsonville  Unity Christian, opens at home on Thursday, Aug. 24 against Plainwell.
Other games that night include Constantine at Homer, Fennville at Schoolcraft, Mendon at Bloomingdale and Marcellus at Decatur.
Centreville visits White Pigeon on Friday, Aug. 25.
The Three Rivers Wildcats, underneath 13th-year head coach J. J. Wagner, took the practice field at 7 a.m. Monday with 34 varsity players turning out, along with 23 each on both the junior varsity and freshmen teams.
Before starting drills the ‘Cats went through calisthenics led by a small group of six seniors.
“Seniors this is your last first day of practice and you and the rest of your teammates need to give 100 percent effort,” said Wagner, as his team went through its stretching exercises.
Wagner urged his team to always show class in the community, school, their family, in the classroom and on the field.
The Wildcats then broke up into small groups for various drills involving conditioning.
“Conditioning is part of the deal,” Wagner said, as he moved around surveying his team.
Three Rivers then broke up into position groups with special attention on defensive aspects of the game.
Please see Tuesday's Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.

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