Warren County High School football practice in the era of social distancing begins Monday, June 1.
Practice is 4 to 6:30 p.m. with an estimated 50 players expected to attend. Coach Matt Turner says any WCHS student in grades 9-12 is welcome to attend practice, which will mainly be conditioning because participants are not supposed to make contact.
“Our No. 1 thing is getting back in shape,” said Turner. “We’re going to be doing competition-style workouts similar to what we did last year. We’re going to be dividing up players in groups of nine with a coach assigned to each group. We have nine coaches so we could have 81 players, but I don’t think we’ll get to that point.”
All players will have their temperature checked prior to practice and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent home. Anyone running a high temperature or feeling sick should stay home at not attend practice.
The locker room is currently closed. Players should bring their own shoes, cleats and all workout gear. No laundry will be done at the school and no workout gear will be provided.
Athletes should bring their own water container labeled with their name. Sharing water is prohibited. Social distancing will be maintained through all workouts.
“This is going to be an experiment,” said coach Turner, who is entering his second season at the Pioneer helm. “If we want to look at the bright side, this has given kids the opportunity to do other things and not get burned out. Everyone should be rested up.”
Last year’s football team graduated 14 seniors. There are 34 returning varsity players who are expected to be joined by 25 to 30 players from the freshman team.
For parents dropping off players, the drop-off point is the WCHS bus circle. Players who can drive are asked to park at least one space apart.
The Pioneers are scheduled to kick off their season Aug. 21 against DeKalb County in Smithville.
The TSSAA dead period where no sports-related activity is allowed is the last week of June and first week of July. Turner said he expects more guidance after the dead period, but he doesn’t think things will return full throttle.
“They’re not going to flip a switch after the dead period and say everything is good to go,” said Turner. “That’s not going to happen.”