MADELIA, MN-- A couple of our area football teams kicked off practice for the upcoming season Monday.

KEYC News 12 Sports Rob Clark explains why the ever–changing landscape of 9–man football has some squads playing an altered schedule.

"It's great, I love it. I love football, spent my summer doing camps, working out in the morning, getting ready for the season. In my opinion, it's great starting a week early," said Josh Sletta, Madelia senior RB/LB.

High school football is officially back, and 'Zero Week' teams like the Madelia Blackhawks are already busy game–planning for 2018.

Madelia's district went through some realignment this offseason, and in May the MSHSL made some changes so the Blackhawks could play a full eight game regular season.

"Well we had in our district, a couple of teams co–oping with some different schools so it gave us an odd number of teams in our district. That being said, we can't have an even number match–up every week, so every team gets a bye week. With that, we have an odd number of weeks that we play, so we play a nine week schedule with a bye, so we start a week early to get that extra week in. It's one of those things, it's just a week early, I've been coaching for 15 years. When August hits, your summer is over. Whether it starts August sixth compared to August 13th, it doesn't matter. Zero week is kind of a bitter sweet thing, you have to start early. But you still get the same amount of prep time, we get two weeks, a scrimmage and week of prep for the game. It's not that bad, because we'll get two games in before the distraction of school. We get two weeks to figure things out. That's a little tough on the guys, now you have to be in school all day and go to practice for the second game of the year, which will be our third is a challenge, it's nice to be into the season," said Nick Willaert, Madelia head coach.

Madelia opens up the season with a big rivalry match–up against the Jaguars who they'll end up facing twice in the regular season.

We'll have more from the Hawks later this week on KEYC News 12.