COLORADO SPRINGS — Doherty football coach Jeff Krumlauf couldn't wait to get his boys on the field. The boys couldn't wait either.
So there was no waiting for the sun to come up. There was no waiting for the anticipation and energy to reach a boiling point.
At midnight on Monday, the Spartans took the field for their first official practice of the 2017 football season.
“I won’t sleep tonight," Krumlauf said. "This is pretty awesome.”
This is the second time in as many years that the school has taken the field for a midnight practice. Last year didn't go as well as Krumlauf and athletic director Chris Noll had hoped.
The lights, combined with coaches' whistles and loud, encouraging motivation, led residents living in the area of Garry Berry to call the police.
Heading into 2017, Krumlauf was insistent that the boys be given the chance to get back out there again at midnight.
Always the competitor, he just wanted to be the first in the state to get his reps and the chance the improve before games officially start next week.
“(This year was) a lot more organized," Krumlauf said. "We sent letters out to the community, we talked to all the people that were going to be involved. We just wanted to make sure that it was a positive evening going into the season and launching the season the way we wanted to go.”
By all accounts it was. The kids took every advantage of working with the coaching staff to improve their abilities.
As ceremonial as the practice may have looked to outsiders, several players ended the night with their hands on their knees, worn down from skill drills and conditioning exercises they were put through.
But when they look back in five or 10 years, it won't be the specifics of the practice that they'll remember. It will be the atmosphere in which they got their season started.
“It’s amazing, honestly," senior Joe Golden said. "This is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. And last year it almost got called off because we were a little too loud, so we changed that this year. But I’ll never forget these two nights for the rest of my life.”
It would've been easy for Noll to squash the idea of a midnight practice after the way it went a year ago.
But when weighing the pros and the cons of those kids taking the field, he kept it mind that Krumlauf always has the best intentions when coming forward with an unorthodox plan.
“Is it good for kids? If it’s good for kids, it’s good for us," Noll said. "That’s exactly what he’s about. He’s good for kids. We love winning games and we love going out and competing and everything else. But at the same time, he understands the importance of high school athletics.
"Yeah, it’s Friday nights, but it’s also building lifelong relationships and making sure these four years are memorable for the kids. The kids will remember this for the rest of their lives.”
With practice No. 1 now in the books, Krumlauf and his staff will no focus their energy on getting the kids the ready for the start of the regular season.
The Spartans open the year against Rangeview on Sept. 1 at Garry Berry.
And the coach has little to no worry about whether his players will be mentally and physically prepared as kick-off approaches.
"That kind of takes care of itself," he said. "They know that the season is here now. Every day is important, every hour is important, every meeting is important, every film session is important. Most importantly, what’s coming up is school. That’s what they have to focus on first. Then this stuff becomes real easy.”