Bruce Lane scooped up the stopwatch hanging around his neck and flipped to the heat index, which read more than 100.
It was 10 a.m.
The morning paper urged readers to stay inside, and the Augusta Christian Schools coach had shut down practice just before the temperature would have forced him to.
The heat is the only opponent during preseason football camp, and Lane isn't taking any chances with dehydration, heat exhaustion or worse.
"Any instance is too many," he said.
Teams found various ways to beat the heat, usually by practicing as early or late as possible.
The Georgia High School Athletic Association allowed public schools to practice in full pads starting Wednesday -- one of the hottest days of the year so far.
Lakeside High School took advantage of the first full contact day with "midnight madness" practice at 12:01 a.m. The evening practices did not begin until 9 p.m.
Lane said the Lions take break every 15 to 20 minutes, and he allows them all the water they wanted. At the practice's halfway point, players can remove their helmets and shoulder pads for a 10-minute cool-down. Frozen towels are available for players to wipe down.
"You just want to be real, real sensitive with the kids' health," Lane said.
South Carolina Independent Schools Association instituted new rules this season that deal with both the heat and academics. After school starts, SCISA schools will be limited to three contact hours of practice a day.
"It's really trying to be proactive with the heat," Lane said. "Our kids are here to get an education first. You got guys practicing four (or) 41/2 hours. Kids aren't getting home."
Harlem High School coach Jimmie Lewis practiced early Wednesday and reported no problems with the heat. When he opened the door to his truck after an afternoon meeting, he said it was "about 186 degrees" inside.
Lewis said he calls to check the heat index hourly. County teams are required to go inside if the heat index is 101 or above.
Lewis said he wished that number was a couple of degrees higher. His practice operates much like Lane's -- water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes and a 15-minute cool-down period at the halfway point.
"We're going to take care of our kids," Lewis said. "My kids can drink water anytime they want it."
Lewis hadn't had to pull his players off the field before Wednesday -- but had expected to. In the instance of a sky-high heat index, the coach said, the team would practice indoors until conditions improved.
"I'm just hoping a little rain cloud will come through here and knock that heat index down," he said. "We're headed to lift weights right now in the air-conditioned weight room."
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