First-year Tuscola football coach Brandon Allen is keeping at least one of the program's traditions.
Mountaineers players will report at 4 p.m. Sunday for the start of a four-day camp that includes overnight stays in the Haywood County school's cafeteria.
"I'm not trying to sound cliché, but the biggest thing is building team unity," Allen said.
"With the kids having to be around each other for 24 hours a day, you grow closer. They wake up, eat lunch and do everything together. I want them away from home, just to hang out and bond."
Monday is the first official day of practice for statewide football teams. Tuscola will eschew a "midnight madness" workout in the wee hours of Monday morning, instead opting for a 9 a.m. session at Weatherby Stadium.
The Mountaineers return two All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference selections from last season's 4-8 team -- Levi Duffield and Hunter Creson.
It won't be all business at the training camp.
While the Tuscola coaching staff does confiscate all car keys on the first day, players are allowed to bring their cellphones, televisions and video game consoles.
"We try to keep up on technology," Allen said.
"I really don't play video games, but I'll get in there and play from time to time, and they wear me out every time."
Allen accepted the Tuscola job in April and had previously been an assistant for four seasons under former coach Donnie Kiefer.
The Mountaineers open their season Aug. 17 at home against Polk County.
TCR girls start national soccer tourney today
Roberson soccer players Maddie Brock, Mercedes Ducker and Emily McCord are the latest Western North Carolina athletes to get their shot at a national championship.
The trio is part of the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy 94 Premier girls team, which will open the U.S. Youth Soccer national tournament this morning in Rock Hill, S.C.
The Greenville, S.C.-based CESA squad is scheduled to play the Legends FC 94 (Calif.) at 9:30 a.m.
CESA won the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championship on June 21.
Asheville-Reynolds alumni game tickets going on sale
Tickets for the Aug. 11 Asheville High-Reynolds alumni football game are now available for purchase at Showtime Sports on U.S. 74 in the Reynolds community.
Tickets cost $10 apiece, and proceeds from presale tickets will benefit both schools' athletic programs. The game's promoter, Alumni Football USA, will receive all the funds from tickets bought at the gate that night at Asheville High.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Cougars athletic director Rex Wells said Monday his school was still waiting to receive its allotment of presale tickets.
Asheville and Reynolds are the fifth grouping of Western North Carolina schools to play alumni football in recent months, joining Pisgah-Tuscola, Robbinsville-Swain County, Enka-Erwin and Madison-North Buncombe.