Wade Salmons was the first arrival for Cabell Midland High School football camp Monday, checking in at 3:07 a.m.
Salmons wasn't an eager player early for the 5 p.m. practice, but rather the newborn son of Knights head coach Luke Salmons. The coach's wife, Amanda, gave birth to Wade fewer than 14 hours before the first practice of the 2019 season, making for an active day for the Cabell Midland leader.
"We've been planning for football really hard," Luke Salmons said. "We were working, working, working and don't know when the baby's going to come and then all the sudden the night before our first practice the baby's here. We're excited and we're blessed."
Coach Salmons said his wife still offered instructions from her hospital bed.
"She said, 'at least you'll be able to go to practice," coach Salmons said, with a chuckle. "She's very supportive. She's in the hospital, but calls and tells me to make sure to tell someone this or that."
Wade is the fourth child, all boys, for Luke and Amanda Salmons.
"We're excited to have four boys who love football and sports," Salmons said. "It's exciting to see them grow up."
Most high school camps didn't experience such excitement on the first official day of practice. Still, coaches and players said they were happy to be back on the field.
"It's always exciting to get back into football," coach Salmons said. "The kids are working really hard to be good. I hope it pays off."
Huntington High coach Billy Seals began his 20th season as a coach, 11 with the Highlanders, on Monday by welcoming his squad to the steamy turf at Bob Sang Field.
"We're ready to get on the field and it's an exciting time of year for us," Seals said. "We graduated some players, five out of six on the offensive line, but every school graduates players. That's part of the game. We're looking forward to trying to get to Wheeling for the state championship. That's the goal every year."
Spring Valley, runner-up in Class AAA the last three years, took the field later than most, practicing at 6 p.m. Monday. Wayne, however, was one of the earlier teams out of the locker room, practicing at 9 a.m.
"These kids are hungry," coach Salmons said of his players. "We have some kids who haven't done it who are capable. You have kids such as (running back) Isaiah Vaughn, who hasn't done it, yet. We have a lot of kids who want to be the guy. They just haven't been the guy, yet."