On Friday afternoon, the weather was so inhospitable that North Surry head football coach Danny Lyons and his staff weren’t even sure that the Greyhounds’ Midnight Madness event would come off that night.
As it turned out, the Hounds not only got their annual late-night scrimmage in, but had one of the most-attended Midnight Madness showcases in the program’s history.
“I’ve been a part of 17 Midnight Madnesses here, four as a player and 13 as a coach, and this might have been the biggest crowd we ever had for Midnight Madness,” said Lyons, whose team tied the school record with 10 wins last year and won the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference title outright. “What a tremendous crowd. We had several hundred people out there, some of them sitting on the backs of trucks. It means a lot to the kids.”
Midnight Madness 2018 was the culmination of the first official week of practice for North Surry, in which the Hounds’ practice schedule was frequently disrupted by rain. On Friday, Lyons said the team didn’t get to hold its morning practice as it had wanted to, and neither the NSHS football stadium nor the practice field were in the best of condition. However, the weather let up enough that he was able to announced that evening that Midnight Madness would happen.
At the stroke of midnight on Saturday morning, the Hounds came running onto the field in front of a large crowd of supporters, many watching from the roofs and tailgates of pickup trucks at the top of the hill overlooking the practice field, and many others from the sidelines. Both the varsity and junior varsity teams took part in the scrimmage.
The conditions on the field were still nothing to write home about, but that was fine. Not all real football games are played in perfect weather, either.
“We didn’t have a great practice (Friday) morning, because of the weather,” Lyons said. “The footing was terrible for Midnight Madness, but we wanted to get out there and get about 30-40 plays for the varsity and some for the JV, and we were able to do that.
“I thought both the offense and the defense had some good moments. We really got to see some good things, and it was a good way to end the week. This was some of the craziest weather we’ve ever seen in a first week.”
The Hounds will have a lot of new faces this season. The 2017 team was filled with senior experience and leadership that helped North Surry come from behind to win several games on its way to the WPAC title, the first league title for the Hounds since 2000. However, the team still returns a handful of impact players on each side of the ball and also had a good JV squad a year ago, and won’t be going from the penthouse to the outhouse.
Lyons made note of one of the newcomers, sophomore defensive lineman Riley Jenkins. The 5’11”, 190-pounder blew up the Hounds’ offensive blocking several times.
“He was about unblockable,” said Lyons. “I think he had three or four sacks.”
North Surry football fans will have two more chances this week to see their team in action without having to leave Toast. On Wednesday, the Hounds will be hosting East Wilkes and R.J. Reynolds for a three-team scrimmage. On Friday, North Wilkes will be coming to town. Both scrimmages start at 6 p.m. The first official game for the team will be Aug. 17 at North Forsyth.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.