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DALLAS -- The last weekend of August is the first weekend of the high school football season. With that comes the heat, and with the heat, you get cramps.

'That's a reality,' said Jesuit coach Brandon Hickman. He added that about a dozen players got cramps during their game Friday, most of them from St. Joseph, out of Philadelphia.

'It's 105 degrees out this past Friday night in the Texas heat,' Hickman said. 'It's just something you're going to always deal with until, hopefully, late September.'

Jesuit's approach to combating cramps is consistent hydration; meaning, throughout the week, not just on game days.

Players are told to carry around 'tanks' of water throughout the school day, a tank being a large container that's not disposable like a water bottle.

They also stress proper nutrition, but even that isn't a 100 percent guarantee that a player won't cramping up.

'Cramping is a big mystery,' said Jeremy Weeks, who is the Director of Athletic Performance at Jesuit. 'If we knew exactly what caused cramping from a scientific standpoint, we wouldn't see it anymore. You see it at every level of sports.'

Keller Central and Flower Mound started their game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in an effort to beat the heat. The Jaguars had cold towels during the game and at halftime, they drank pickle juice, which is thought to prevent and relieve cramps.

'It's horrible. It tastes awful,' said Flower Mound tackle Chris Miles. 'But at halftime, you'll drink anything. Especially in that heat, you'll drink anything.'

It's getting harder and harder to play through the heat, because teams are running more and more plays. The game is getting faster, so even though they still put 12 minutes on the clock for each quarter, teams are getting more plays off during that time.

'We ran 88 plays offensively and 80 defensively without a breeze out here,' Hickman said. 'So kids were falling out left and right on us.'

It's fast and it's hot, but that's Texas high school football.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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