PALMER — Most of the state’s football teams started practice last Monday, but those teams were only allowed to practice in shorts and t-shirts — no pads.

The first day a team was allowed pads was Aug. 11 so Palmer took it to heart, stepping on the field at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday in full gear.

“I wasn’t sure how many (fans) we were going to have out here, but it’s a pretty good crowd,” Palmer head coach Brian Garrison said. “This is really for the community, something to perk excitement about football in Palmer.”

The midnight practice concluded a first week of practices that Garrison said were “very productive.”

In just his second year at Palmer, Garrison wanted to see how much better the players understood his system.

“We’re are so much further along than we were at this time last year,” he said. “It’s been exciting to see some of the things we’ve been looking at this week.”

With the first football game still three weeks away, Garrison is cautious about his teams health.

In order for Palmer to reach its goal of the postseason, health is going to be a key.

“Obviously over the next couple weeks we want to stay healthy,” he said. “We also want to get our players as many reps in game situations as possible and then flow that into our scrimmage next week against Ferris.”

Friday’s midnight practice was also a canned food drive the football team was doing in conjunction with a local church.