Nearly 70 attend first football drills

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By Jim Perry

Managing Editor

Citizen Photos/Jim Perry Cushing High School junior Mat Yates (above) munches on a banana during a break in Monday morning’s first Tiger football practice of 2016. Evan Kennedy (below) works on fielding punts.Three score and seven players on Monday morning ventured onto the new O’Dell Field. In better terms, they frolicked.
“I couldn’t believe it this morning,” Cushing High School football coach Barrett Shupe said. “And I didn’t even have to paint a single stripe.”
Shupe did not paint because Cushing in 2016 will play its games — and practice — on the newly fashioned O’Dell Field. Replete with FieldTurf.
“I’m already excited to play on this field,” Tiger senior Trey Morris said. “You can already feel the atmosphere.”
“We are blessed to have a place like this to play,” another player, Jackson Wharry, said while munching on bananas and oranges during a break in the four-hour session.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association ordained that teams across the state could begin practices on Monday. Most opted for twice-daily sessions; Cushing crammed its into one, longer workout.
The OSSAA rules full-contact practices can begin Friday. Cushing will host Media Day at 7 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by an intra-squad scrimmage at O’Dell Field.
Cushing has only one full-scale scrimmage this season: Aug. 19 at home versus Jones and Meeker.
The Tigers kick off the 2016 season Aug. 26 at Perkins-Tryon, a former district opponent in Class 3A. It is Cushing’s first venture into “zero week” play.
The Tigers are idle the week of Oct. 21.
Realigned districts for 2016-17 put CHS into District 3A-6 against Beggs, Bristow, Checotah, Kellyville, Morris and Okmulgee. Many of the teams in the former District 3A-1 — Kingfisher, Perkins, Oklahoma Centennial, Blackwell — remained in a league that also features Chandler, up from Class 2A, Oklahoma Christian School and Mount Saint Mary.
The OSSAA playoffs begin Nov. 11.