A little midnight madness for CHS varsity football
A florescent glow floated into the night sky – a beacon leading the way down Day Road toward Christopher High School.
Breaking through an ever-increasing blanket of fog and the crisp, black night, portable lights illuminated the natural-grass surface, which already showed signs of a busy summer.
Out of the shadows, in practice jersey whites, the CHS varsity football team walked in formation out of the locker room and to the west end zone.
From the opposite direction, head coach Tim Pierleoni, football tucked under his left arm, sauntered toward the 30-yard line, gazing down at his watch.
“Five… four… three… two… one,” Pierleoni counted down.
“It’s time to go to work,” he said after sounding the season’s initial whistle.
Midnight, Friday, Aug. 12 – the first official day of fall practice. The time of night didn’t matter and as assistant coach Craig Martin said, “It’s time for some football.”
Keeping with a tradition started last season, which also includes a viewing of “The Boys of Fall” and a sleepover on campus after practice, CHS hit the field for its version of midnight madness, flipping the ‘On’ switch to 2011.
“These guys have all been working hard all summer,” Pierleoni said. “We gave them the days off from (August) first to the 10th, and now they are ready to go.”
Captains led the rest of the team in agility drills, simulating the Cougars’ pregame routine, which morphed into position-by-position workouts and converged into 7 on 7. Steam billowed off of sweaty foreheads as the offense versus defense session continued past 1 a.m.
“Tempo, tempo. Come on gentlemen. Tempo,” Pierleoni reminded his group, pacing behind the makeshift line of scrimmage.
Off toward a poorly lit portion of the field, the linemen hit the dew-soaked grass, bellies first, fine-tuning their footwork and lateral movements. Beyond them, the CHS cheerleaders put in their practice time as well.
Around every corner, the Cougars find motivation, improving upon a 3-7 inaugural varsity campaign, a 40-17 loss to Gilroy High in the first Severance Bowl and the desire of a senior class to leave a lasting legacy upon a program it helped create.
“We’ve been playing together for three years,” said senior Bryant Cid, who described the players’ demeanor prior to them taking the field in a way that made it seem like they were caged animals raring to break free.
“I’ve been waiting for this all year,” he added before checking back into his safety role during the 7 versus 7.
— The Cougars figure to have in the ball park of 21 seniors on the sidelines this season and a projected 35-man roster. It’s a total number Pierleoni wants to see edge closer to 40 by kick off Sept. 3.
— Looking in midseason form, the CHS cheerleaders performed their halftime routine for a small crowd that gathered on the sideline.
View more photos of CHS football practice at our