Aug. 4, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.
YOAKUM - Most Yoakum players and coaches were sound asleep when their counterparts across the state were holding their first football practice.
The Bulldogs weren't being slackers.
They got a head start by practicing Monday shortly after midnight.
Yoakum held a Midnight Madness practice for the second consecutive season under the lights on the baseball field.
"I love it," said senior quarterback Tre'Vontae Hights. "It's just a great experience to come out here before everyone. It's still pretty cool at night. It's fun."
A number of Yoakum fans turned out for the practice, which included members of the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams and ended after 3 a.m.
"The kids asked about it, and they get excited about it," said Yoakum head coach Brent Kornegay. "It's a neat deal and kind of gets the community involved. We've had some people cooking hot dogs and things."
The Bulldogs were all business once they hit the field - doing drills at a fast pace.
"The first four days are a lot of teaching and trying to get in a little bit better shape," Kornegay said. "It's pretty much the same schedule as we roll into the rest of the practices. It's more of a teaching type situation because we're not in pads."
A number of players participated in conditioning drills and took part in 7-on-7 competition during the summer.
"It's not totally hard," said Hights, who has committed to TCU. "Even after 7-on-7, I called up my receivers and my running backs, and we would go out and throw just so we would stay in shape.
"The biggest thing I would say it is conditioning," he added. "But it's also mental reps."
Yoakum returns seven starters on offense and seven on defense, so Kornegay would like to have the offense and defense installed by the end of the week.
"It's just a matter of going in and getting some depth," he said. "We had a pretty good JV team last year, so a lot of those kids are going to fill in roles. We're just trying to get better at what we do. We're going to throw some things at them day by day by day by day."
Yoakum will have four weeks of practice before opening the season Aug. 29 at Marion.
"We'll have an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, and they get excited about that," he said. "You've got to make it through this week, and then next week, we've got something to prepare for with the two scrimmages. All this is learning for them."
Yoakum will return to a more normal schedule Tuesday morning.
"We'll be ready," Hights promised. "We have big expectations this season."