By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – It’s going to be hot at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19 when Shannon kicks off its football season at home against Kosciusko.
However, it won’t be as hot as it was at noon Wednesday when the Red Raiders wrapped up their third preseason practice.
“This is the hottest day of the year and Shannon High School was practicing,” coach Chad Cook told his exhausted, sweat-soaked, water-gulping players following their morning workout. “I don’t know if anybody else was practicing at this time.
“Everybody wearing a red helmet was here. I’m proud of that.”
There’s really no good time to avoid the heat, which hovered around the 100-degree mark Wednesday, prompting excessive heat warnings from the National Weather Service.
The remainder of the Red Raiders’ practices will be conducted after school, which begins today in Lee County. Wednesday was the lone morning workout for the team, which opened fall practice Monday.
“I guess this was me trying to make them tough,” Cook said while nursing a cup of orange sports drink. “When it’s hot, you see what you’re made of.
“I know we’ve beaten West Point twice early in the year because we were in shape and they were cramping,” he said. “The other two times we played, and they didn’t cramp, they beat the fool out of us.”
Cook has been pleased with his team’s progress and he likes what he sees from sophomore QB John Peugh.
“He’s a repetition guy,” Cook said. “He just needs his reps and he’ll get better and better.”
Peugh started as a freshman last season in the Red Raiders’ 37-7 win against Tishomingo County. In that game he passed for 207 yards and two TDs. He also suffered two interceptions.
“That game helped me a lot,” Peugh said. “I also think I improved a lot during spring practice.”
Peugh, whose father, Stephen, coached on the Shannon staff for 12 seasons, grew up watching a steady parade of quality quarterbacks, including Romaro Miller and Ken Topps, come through the program.
Does he feel any added pressure now that he’s stepping into job?
“Not really,” he said. “I’ve got some good receivers and some running backs who are pretty stout.”
Shannon goes to full pads Monday as it prepares for an Aug. 12 jamboree game against Oxford at Ole Miss.