The Dollarway football team had a welcome addition to Thursday morning's practice, but it was not in the form of a player, coach or any new equipment.

The Dollarway football team had a welcome addition to Thursday morning’s practice, but it was not in the form of a player, coach or any new equipment.

Instead of dealing with 90-plus degree temperatures like the first three days of practice, Dollarway got to practice in the rain that fell on Thursday morning.

Dollarway head coach Cortez Lee said the rain was a welcome blessing to the practice session.

“I would say the players were a little more relaxed because it isn’t as glaring with the heat on them,” he said. “They are moving around a little better and understandably why.”

Even with the intense heat during the first few days of football practice, the sessions have been going well, Lee said.

“We are trying to highlight conditioning and that they understand the things we are putting in,” he said. “They are ahead of the curve.”

In order to avoid the heat, Dollarway has been practicing in the mornings like a lot of schools. While it has still been hot in the morning, it has been a lot better than going in the afternoon.

“We kind of gauged that and decided to go in the morning,” Lee said. “The last few days have been nice going in the morning.”

The Dollarway players also have advantage to beating the heat than a few other schools. While most teams have been practicing with helmets and others have added shoulder pads to their practices, Dollarway is still going in shirts and shorts.

Even though staying cooler is an added bonus of not having helmets and pads on, that is not the reason the team is going without that equipment right now.

“We get the teaching curve and conditioning curve on, and the helmets and pads are not one of the major things we worry about,” Lee said. “We wanted to make sure we highlighted certain drills and then deal with the pads in its own mindset.”

Lee used the same scheduling format last year with waiting to put the pads on, and it was successful since Dollarway did advance to the Class 4A football playoff semifinals.

“We try and do what we do best and not follow the model of other teams,” he said. “The players understand what they have to do and they are ready to put the pads on. Just stay consistent with our process and when the pads go on, hope to see the same level of progress we see now.”

Dollarway has seen a bit of a change in its preseason schedule. The Cardinals were suppose to host a scrimmage on Aug. 24, but will now play it on the road. Lee said he is waiting to hear who the opponent will be yet.

Lee said the reason the scrimmage was moved was because he wanted more work to be done to Dollarway’s football field.

“Just make sure to get all of the field requirements covered and keep the field in better shape,” he said. “It’s been playable the last few years, but we want it to look a lot better this year. This will help with the wear and tear.”

Dollarway’s first game is Aug. 31 at West Helena and will play Little Rock Parkview at home a week later.