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PREP FOOTBALL: Gresham Gophers start the 2019 season with a midnight practice

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Gresham High football coach Mike Melton gathers his team on the Gophers midfield logo to go over practice plans.

Gresham High flipped the switch on the 2019 football season with a midnight practice to kick off the season in the wee hours Monday morning. At exactly 12:01 a.m. the lights of Stapleton Field clicked on, revealing a field set with footballs and tackling dummies.

Gophers head coach Mike Melton called his squad to the midfield 'G' and issued instructions for the first batch of drills for the upcoming prep season.

"We have to be among the first teams to get out on the practice field," Melton said. "It's a fun experience to get out here at midnight and kick off our doubles workouts."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Gresham players go through a tackling drill during Mondays midnight practice, officially starting their 2019 season at 12:01 a.m. Monday under the lights at Stapleton Field.

The full moon football experience was popular among players, who were buzzing leading up to the first whistle, excited to be back with teammates to embark on a new season.

"It's the earliest we can all come together as a team, and it puts it in our minds that we are here to do business," Gresham senior Austin Pick said.

"It's a great way to get the season started. It's a team bonding thing — who else is out here doing this?," Nathan Watson said. "Usually we are out here in the heat, so it's nice to be out in the cool air under the lights, instead."

The Gophers play in a jamboree at West Salem on Friday, Aug. 30, leading up to their opening game Sept. 6, at Grant.

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