Monday marked the first day the Georgia High School Association permitted football teams to conduct full-contact practices across the state.
In Columbia County, two local teams couldn't wait for the sun to rise.
Both Lakeside and Harlem burned the midnight oil as Sunday changed to Monday earlier this week. As the clock struck 12:01 a.m. on Monday morning, both teams were on their respective fields ready to hit.
"This is a real practice for us. Not just a show," Lakeside first-year head football coach Jody Grooms said. "We'll do 30 minutes of fundamentals and then have a group blitz period and throw some live bullets at our offense."
The players and coaches weren't the only ones to miss their bedtime Sunday night.
More than 100 fans greeted the Panthers as they made their way onto the football field.
Harlem High School had nearly that many fans lining the practice field as the Bulldogs tackled for the first time this season.
Harlem head football coach Jimmie Lewis seemed to save the most violent, hard-hitting drills for the end.
"I was pleased with what I saw. I saw some better hitting than what I expected out of this bunch," he said. "We're going to have to hit hard and play defense this year if we want to be competitive, and this is when you can really tell something. You can be in the weight room all you want, but if you can't hit you're not going to play."
Players at both Lakeside and Harlem spent the night at their schools Sunday night and hit the practice field again Monday morning.
Greenbrier, Evans and Augusta Christian elected not to hold Midnight Madness practices this year. They kicked off their full-contact practices Monday morning.
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