Friday, Aug. 30, is opening night for high school football in central Ohio.

Friday, Aug. 30, is opening night for high school football in central Ohio.

The early forecast called for a high in the upper 80s with humidity hovering around 60 percent.

Seasonable, in other words -- unlike a good deal of this summer when highs in the 70s have been as commonplace as the 90s.

Boy, football coaches must not have liked the cooler temperatures. After all, heat helps toughen players when they need it, right?

Well ...

"I used to think that when I was a younger coach until a doctor sat me down and told me how wrong I was," Upper Arlington coach Mike Golden said. "It really is a misconception among a lot of fans. Heat doesn't help conditioning at all. If it's 70 degrees, conditioning is ideal. Conditioning is getting your heart to beat better, and if it's 70 or 75 or even cooler, you can go an entire two-and-a-half hour practice without stops. It's a better flow.

"There's not a player around that can't be stopped by the heat."

According to Weather Underground, through Aug. 23, Columbus had hit 90 degrees only 11 times, including five consecutive days in mid-July. That's not far out of the norm; in an average summer, we get to 90 degrees 16 times. But what stands out is August, historically the hottest month for most of the country, has been particularly tolerable if not comfortable.

Of the 17 days between June 21 and Aug. 23 that the high has been 79 or less, the coolest was Aug. 14, when the high was 70. We haven't been any warmer than 94, which was the high on both July 16 and 17. The heat index peaked at a Dallas-like 99 on the afternoon of July 17.

Mount Vernon coach Anthony Naples said this is his ideal weather pattern.

"In June and July, you want it nice and hot. The first few weeks of August, you want it hot," Naples said. "That gets them in shape faster. That said, you can do 10 sprints (on a cooler day) whereas maybe you can only do four if it's real hot. We do a lot of stuff up-tempo in practice, and that's where you get conditioned, doing drills in 30 minutes.

"We don't do a ton of sprints like in the old days. We get in shape by doing what the guys will be doing in games. But with this (weather), it's allowed us to be easier mentally because they're not as tired, but then we'll make them tired at the end of the day."

The past few summers have followed the same basic pattern. The worst heat comes early, followed by mild Augusts, then one last heat wave around Labor Day before humidity generally disappears, nights cool and the sun sets a few minutes earlier every night.

Who can forget the first weekend of September two years ago, when many games on the second Friday of football season were moved back to 8 p.m. because of the heat? The next day, the high hit 97 degrees and heat-related illnesses struck not only many Ohio State football fans and marching band members, but also a spate of cross country runners at various meets across the area.

Three days later after a potent cold front and near-constant rain, highs struggled to get out of the 60s.

It was 77 degrees at the beginning of a four-team scrimmage Aug. 13 at Olentangy, but 64 by the time it finished.

"I don't think any player will complain about it being cool," Braves quarterback Noah Durst said. "Getting in shape-wise, guys start to loaf when it gets too hot. When it's cooler, we're pushing ourselves the whole time."

Even 75-degree days feel like 90 on New Albany's new turf field, and that was fine with first-year coach Pat Samanich.

"I'd say it's 15 degrees warmer on the turf. Just look at the heat coming off," Samanich said. "Yeah, we'd like it hotter. If you can push through those adverse times, when it cools down, you're flying and life is good. Obviously we're always concerned about their health and water intake and working with our training staff, but we like it hot and the turf is helping."