Football adapts to COVID-19 safety regulations

The+offensive+linemen+line+up+to+run+through+a+play+at+practice+on+Sept.+16.+On+Friday%2C+the+team+will+compete+against+another+team+for+the+first+time+since+Nov.+15+in+a+scrimmage+against+Allen.

photo by Emma Short

The offensive linemen line up to run through a play at practice on Sept. 16. On Friday, the team will compete against another team for the first time since Nov. 15 in a scrimmage against Allen.

In preparation for the upcoming season, the football team has implemented safety precautions to protect coaches and players against COVID-19. 

“Logistically, it’s been difficult,” offensive coordinator Jeff Hill said. “Me and Coach [Eric] Mach and Coach [Brian] Brazil pretty much meet daily because new things come out and changes are made. Our players have been tremendous through the whole thing; they have just been so resilient and I’m really proud of them for that.” 

Players are required to wear masks, wipe down weights, bars, and benches after every use and keep weight rooms at half capacity. During games, all players will be required to wear a mask when they are not actively playing on the field. Players will also be spread out on the sidelines of the field to enforce social distancing. 

“That’s the biggest [concern], taking the proper precautions so that we can keep playing,” Hill said. “I know we can’t control whether we can play or not, but we can control wearing masks, social distancing and following the regulations set in place. If we follow the regulations, we should get to play.”

The team was supposed to start practicing the first week of August, but UlL announced all 5A and 6A schools’ practices were going to be pushed back until the first week of September. 

“We scrimmage Allen here Friday at all levels: freshman, JV and Varsity,” Hill said. “Right now everything’s still on. I haven’t heard anything from Allen and we’re all good, so we’re just excited to hit someone else besides ourselves, and see another team play besides ourselves.”

One thing the team hopes to work on this season is consistency and focus on being successful at each individual play, Hill said. 

“If we’re trying to win at every play, the scoreboard, the touchdowns and the wins will take care of [themselves,]” Hill said. That’s the thing that I hope to accomplish [this season:] not worrying about statistics, not worrying about yards: just winning the play each time and the rest will fall into place. That’s the mentality that we are trying to create with our offense and our team.”