REED CITY — Practices officially started on Monday for a Reed City football program hoping to produce its eight straight Central State Activities Association Gold Division title this season.

Coach Monty Price said he has 29 varsity players and 19 JVs. Numbers are similar to the past, but perhaps down slightly on JV numbers, he suggested.

It rained on Monday morning, “but we were thankful we got everything in and didn’t have to go inside,” Price said. “We have an hour between the first two sessions and about a 15-minute break between the last one.

“We had a great summer. We had 19 of our kids out of the 29 that got 100 percent participation and didn’t miss a thing. The other 10 kids were all very good, high percentage of attendance. We’re very pleased with the attendance.”

This week, the MHSAA allows teams to go two days with helmets, two days with shoulder pads and helmets, and all equipment on Friday.

“With just the helmet and shoulder pads, it’s much more teaching,” Price said. “It’s fundamentals and technique and very little contact. We need to keep kids safe so we acclimate them the first four days. Even on the fifth day, we don’t do any contact. We’ll start that next week.

“Right now, we’re installing all of our schemes and plays and defensive schemes and hammering home the fundamentals and techniques, and obviously conditioning. You have to be in shape.”

Reed City scrimmages on Aug. 16 in Cadillac. JVs go at 2 p.m. and the varsity at 5 p.m.

“Our big focus is conditioning,” Price said. “We felt last year our first couple of weeks we were cramped up and dehydrated. We have to focus on conditioning. We’ll really be focusing on that.”