Just minutes into the Alice Coyotes’ first practice of the new season and after a quick and crisp march through the length of the field, coach Kyle Atwood gathered his offense.

“We have to be better,” he told his offense. “We can’t be out here dropping passes. We have to give it our all on every play. This really means something to the people of this community, so I should mean more to us.”

Atwood’s assessment of the community’s support for the Coyotes was an easy one. It was obvious by the hundreds of fans that lined the practice fields for the program’s first practice of the season just past midnight Monday morning.

It what the program was calling Midnight Madness, Alice held its first football practice at midnight Monday, and they did it with plenty of fanfare. They entered the field behind police lights and sirens. There was also a DJ blasting music throughout the practice.

“There was a lot of excitement as you can tell from the number of people here,” Atwood said. “The first possible minute that we can be out here practicing, we were out here. It’s good to see this many people out here, but in Alice, Texas, I wouldn’t expect any different.”

The team did two hours of football drills on offense and defense, and then followed that with an hour of conditioning drills.

Atwood did his best to motivate the boys before conditioning, which included speed weights, stations and running.

“… Get your body and your mind in shape to play 48 minutes,” Atwood told the anxious group of boys.”The moment you take a play off is the moment they score on you. The moment you take a play off is the moment we don’t pick up a first down. You don’t afford to take a play off. This going to get you in shape to be able to do that. Believe in yourself. When your mind is telling you, ‘I can’t go any more,’ believe in yourself that you can do it.”

Alice continued workouts on Tuesday morning.