CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital High School students returned to class on Aug. 9 just like their peers throughout Kanawha County.
But while the rest of the county opened regular season play for the 2013 football season, Capital stood on the sidelines and waited. The Cougars, ranked third in the Daily Mail Class AAA Poll, open their season tonight against Riverside (0-1) at University of Charleston Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Getting a bye in Week 1 typically enables teams to get a leg up on their initial opponent. Coaches can scout an opponent's first game and players can take an extra few days to nurse any wounds sustained in preseason scrimmages. The advantage is even more pronounced this season, as no school in the county was able to conduct two-a-day workouts for more than the first day of the preseason.
This all sounds good for Capital, but Cougars Coach Jon Carpenter isn't buying much of it.
"All that stuff's probably a little overrated," he said Wednesday of having an extra week to prepare for a Warriors team that was beaten soundly by No. 4 Cabell Midland (1-0) in its opener.
"I hate dealing with the excitement of wanting to play. I guess it just depends on what side you're on with it," Carpenter said.
Neither George Washington nor South Charleston - teams who faced off in Thursday night openers last week - suffered from a rash of cramping that is historically symptomatic with a lack of preseason conditioning. The next night in Hurricane, Redskins players - who did not return to school until Aug. 22 and thus had almost three weeks of two-a-day sessions - were dropping regularly with cramps.
"That tells you how overrated it is," Carpenter said. "I think it's more diet and making sure you stay hydrated. You hear that all the time, 'Oh, you don't run them enough,' but you can run them 'til they puke and it doesn't matter if they don't get water and don't eat right."
Carpenter's solution? Goober grape.
"We eat more peanut butter than the state of Georgia," he said. "We've got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich bar the kids hit to start every day, then we make them slam the water."