By Scott Bair

VISTA, CA—Vista High football coach Danny Williams brought a thermometer to practice one August afternoon, held it to the ground and waited for a reading. He gave the instrument a moment to work before analyzing a result that was downright shocking.
Sure, it was a hot day in the height of summer, but 130 degrees? That seemed a little extreme. Vista didn’t become a desert overnight, but the Panthers’ relatively new artificial playing surface made it feel as if they were practicing in Death Valley.

“Heat does factor into our practice schedule,” Williams said. “How much are you going to get out of your players when it’s 130 degrees? We weren’t getting good results from our practices, and some players were getting blisters on their feet.

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“We eventually shuffled our two-a-days schedule and practiced on turf in the morning and moved to natural grass in the afternoon because the heat was simply unbearable.”

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