CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Heaters are cranking on the sidelines of Notre Dame High School's football field. Athletic director Matt Pobieglo wants to make sure players are comfortable for their big playoff game tonight against Cookeville area's Upperman High.
"They can run anywhere from 9 to 11 hours depending on the size of the heater. They run off kerosene, so they're a great addition, especially for cold nights like tonight," explains Pobieglo.
With temperatures likely in the 20s by the fourth quarter. Lows for Chattanooga in mid-November usually hover around 40°.
Pobieglo says all four machines--three owned by the school and one rented--will be dialed up to full blast.
"We'll have them set to maximum. So, 110 degrees," adds Pobieglo.
For head coach Charles Fant it brings back memories of his high school days when sometimes there was as much huddling on the sidelines as on the field.
"You saw all the younger kids who aren't playing much all bunched up in little groups. Well, that's where the heater was," recalls Fant as he laughs. As long as conditions aren't sun-zero, he says it beats dehydration and cramping from extreme heat.
He's has been running extra practices to get players used to the cold snap, having them wear hand warmers and thermals. They'll wear extra layers of thin clothing under their uniforms tonight.
The cheerleaders plan to layer up, too, and will have plenty of hot chocolate, courtesy of some of the parents. Coach Katie Smith says the girls would probably rather deal with the cold than extreme heat.
"When you sweat you're makeup melts, your hair melts," says Smith. "Maybe with the cold they'll look cute all bundled up."
Don't forget the marching band. Junior trumpet player Colin Sawyer keeps his mouthpiece warm in his hand or pocket when not playing. He also has to keep his fingers nimble.
"You're holding a metal trumpet and it's freezing cold, you're fingers can get frozen. So you have keep gloves on."