The grunts and groans of the first day of high school football practice reverberated through stadiums around the county Thursday.
Mostcoaches are holding twice-a-day practice sessions to get their teamsready for the season opener in three weeks.
At Fallston High, 38 boys turned out for the varsity team -- up from 24 last year. That should give the Cougars a little more depth.
Last year, injuries killed the Cougars' chances for a winning record after the third game of the season.
With a 3-7 record last year,the Cougars were not among the county's best, but a strong turnout could bring some improvement. "We're just trying to get over that .500mark," said coach Dave Cesky.
The Cougars will get a boost from veterans like Brian Yeager, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive tackle, who sat out much of last year with a pinched nerve in his neck. Inside linebackers Brian Coyne (6-1, 215) and Jason Alford (6-1, 225) and defensive tackle Keith Lee (6-0, 255) are also among Cesky's top prospects.
Although it won't affect their county schedule, the Cougars will drop from Class 2A to Class 1A this year, giving them a better shot at postseason play. Aberdeen will also change class, moving up to Class 3A from Class 2A.
This year's county teams are all hoping for a season like that of C. Milton Wright last year. The Mustangs finished off the best season in school history with an appearance in the state Class 3A title game.
Of course, everyone's hopes include winning the state championship.