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Two teams are making every minute count ahead of week 1 of high school football, even if that means practicing at midnight

EL PASO, Texas -- As of Monday, every high school football team in the Borderland is practicing.

Some teams began back last week, but those who played spring football had to wait an extra week to start per UIL guidelines - meaning they couldn't take the field until Monday.

For most that meant waiting to practice before school or after school on Monday, but Eastwood wanted to make every minute count.

The Troopers took the field at 12:01 a.m. Monday for what they call 'midnight madness.'

"It's a mentality thing for us," Eastwood head football coach Julio Lopez said. "As soon as the UIL allows us on the field, we want to be on the field, we want to get after it, we want to get to work."

"I love this out here here," Curtis Murillo, Eastwood senior wide receiver, said. "It's my favorite thing to do, it's our first practice of the season, it's just amazing."

Lopez began doing midnight madness with the Troopers when he became head coach eight seasons ago, but for the Riverside Rangers, it has been a tradition since the '90s around the same time now head coach Gary Recoder was wearing the burnt orange and navy blue.

"I see them, and I was like that in 1996, and it's the same feeling, it's a game-type environment, and I know how they feel because I was once one of them, and that is really special to me," Recoder said.

While the Rangers were one of the teams that got to start a week early, they used their midnight madness at 12:01 a.m. Saturday as a chance to wrap up the first week and build the team camaraderie ahead of the new season.

"It's a rich tradition here at Riverside," Rangers quarterback Angel 'speedy' Munoz said. "Literally, we treat it like a game, so we're getting hype in the locker room, and we're hitting each other with our helmets."

It wasn't just players and coaches that braved a lack of sleep for football - parents, grandparents, alumni and current students watched from the stands in anticipation of the season ahead.

All of them hoping that because their guys are some of the first on the field this season, that they will be the last off of it come playoffs and have an even better run than their sweet 16 showing last season.

Article Topic Follows: High School Sports
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Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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