We’d like to show you a picture of the actual start of Lake Highlands’ first official football practice, but it would just be a black square. As the players gathered on the practice field at 6 a.m. Monday, the sun was still a ways from coming up.

While the surroundings were dark, the mood was ultra-bright. About 100 players worked for two hours before taking a break for the day’s second practice at 10 a.m. Another dozen or so players stood on the sidelines because they had not completed their mandatory physicals.

Coach Scott Smith said waiting for a few players to get their physicals is an annual thing. 

"Above and beyond that, the first practice was awesome," Smith said, adding that there was good retention from spring practices. "From an execution standpoint, we didn’t have many hiccups."

Smith said there was plenty of energy and enthusiasm for a first practice. Some of that is a byproduct of having gone three rounds deep in the playoffs last year.

"What last year did for us just kind of put the icing on the cake that had been set for the last three years," Smith said. "Once we turned that corner against Skyline, the kids started saying, ‘We can do this. Those coaches are right about what they’re saying.’" The thought process has been ingrained in them."