The advent of Midnight Madness may have been one of college basketball’s greatest marketing ploys; it generates excitement both for novelty and a sense of inclusivity among student bodies and alumni bases. It’s a win-win scenario, and it’s one that has now set down firm roots in high school football as well.
The use of “Midnight Madness” first official football practices has drawn a direct connection between many high school football programs and college basketball programs like Kentucky, who use the first practice to stage an impromptu dunk contest and drills that are more celebrity gawking than they are serious workout. Yet, while high school Midnight Madnesses practices may start with a bit of lighthearted excitement, but they incorporate aspects that are far more serious than their college basketball counterparts. Here’s a head coach from Georgia, West Laurens’ Stacey Nobles, on his team’s first few minutes of a long season of training ahead:
“We got after it,” Nobles told the Macon Telegraph. “This was a work session. The kids were tired of going in helmets. It’s always nice when you get out there and start hitting.
“We looked really good for the first practice. Very efficient offensively — a few busts here and there, but nothing major — and on defense, we were really swarming around, flying to the football, some big hits.”
That work ethic may provide a stark difference between prep football and college basketball, but the goal is still the same, whether being played in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky or Arkansas, to name but a few states where athletes got their football started when the clock struck midnight on August 1.
“It was electric at the beginning. The kids were screaming and hollering.”