MILTON, Ga. — It wasn't quite Friday Night Lights – more like Wednesday Morning Lights – but to the pumped-up football Bears, it was all the same.
The inaugural class of the Cambridge High School football team hit the turf at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday morning; the first day football teams in Georgia could practice in full pads.
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Milton's head coach Craig Bennett said he got special permission from Principal Ed Spurka to hold the practice in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and was looking forward to being one of the first football teams in the state to start full practice.
"This will be the first of many firsts for us at Cambridge, and it will only get more exciting each and every day," said Bennett.
What the Cambridge team may lack in experience – fewer than 20 members of the 100-plus team are upper classmen – it makes up for in enthusiasm.
"It was a great night," said Bennett, who was most recently the athletic director at Milton High School. "I was completely overwhelmed by the level of excitement not only by the coaches and players, but from the parents, the staff and the community. It was a special way to kick off our season with practice on our field under the lights."
The team practiced under the lights for three hours before heading back into the locker room for leadership skills and team building and then heading home at 5:30 a.m.
The Bears open at home with their inaugural game against Riverwood High at 7 p.m. on Aug. 31.