Helmets and shoulder pads until midnight before hitting game field.

The Booneville Bearcats wrapped up the first week of fall practice last week with something old and something new.

Friday’s practice included the annual ice cream social, though it was in an atypcial time slot. It normally occurs after the practice.

This year, however, the ice cream and goodies were consumed about 6 p.m. and players stayed around the fieldhouse watching movies, playing Madden and engaging in a glow ball competition while awaiting on 11 p.m.

At 11 they went in the required helmets and shoulder pads for a non full-contact drill period until midnight. At 12:01 a.m., Saturday, they were on the Bearcat Stadium turf for their first full contact scrimmage.

The crowd for the scrimmage which lasted for about an hour was between 80 and 90 die hard fans and parents.

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Head coach Scott Hyatt even thought about setting off the canon salute when the Bearcats entered the field from the northwest corner of the stadium. That might not have gone well in the neighborhood, however.

Of the days before the contact practice, head coach Scott Hyatt said, “we got a lot of learning done, a lot of tackle circuits, body positioning and stuff. With all these new rules, you’ve got to teach them to keep their head out of contact. Tackle with your shoulder, tackle the legs. Face up.”

The Bearcats, Hyatt said Saturday morning, made it through the first week with a roster of 36 players — there were 42 players during the summer. He also noted that participation around the area is consistently down.

The Bearcats open the 2017 season on Sept. 1, when they host Pea Ridge, who is coming off a Class 4A state championship game appearance.