Temps a bit more bearable as high school football kicks off

High schools across the Omaha metro suffered through intense heat during Friday night football games.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 11:31 PM CDT
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - What a difference 24 hours - and about ten degrees - can make.

For example, the playing surface at Bryan High School was a cool 90.6 degrees on the 50-yard line just before kickoff. That was an estimated 15 degrees cooler than a day ago.

“Well, we got lucky with some cloud cover this afternoon and we got a nice breeze, so I think we’re gonna be in good shape,” longtime area referee Dan Flynn said prior to kickoff between visiting Omaha South and the host Bears in Bellevue.

One athletic director said the bad news is, they had to practice inside in the gymnasium all week due to the heat.

The good news is, so did the other team.

Even cheer and dance squads, the pep bands, and others had to practice around the conditions during the week at Bryan. Their principal kept spirits high with some old-fashioned frozen treats.

“Because of the heat, how bad it was, [principal Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek] did bring all the activities and sports popsicles to help cool down from the heat, (and) we drank lots of water,” senior cheerleading captain Callie Hendershot said. “To stay positive through the thing me and the rest of my team, we just kind of hyped each other up and made sure everyone stayed positive.”

“I made sure my team and the girls all pulled together [by] having a great attitude because we were all hurting, tired,” senior dance squad captain Natalia Reynoso said. “We just had a lot of popsicles, a lot of cold water, that pushed us through the practices.”

The officials in charge of the games have been through this before, and even though it wasn’t as dangerously hot as earlier in the week, they aren’t letting their guard down.

“We start hydrating the day before, and that’s key,” Flynn said. “But in terms of the game, we add an extra minute to all the dead periods, between periods and after the scores so the kids get the chance to get the helmet off and drink some extra water.”

Bryan High School’s stadium has an advantage when it comes to beating the heat over some in the metro. They’re located on a hill, with open skies blowing a steady breeze.

While it can be difficult in some games for kickers and passers, no one was complaining about it at the close of a week with a blistering heat wave.