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Turner begins football practice with call for physical fitness
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WCHS head coach Matt Turner addresses players Monday during the opening summer football practice. The Pioneers have less than 80 days before they are scheduled to kick off their season in Smithville. - photo by Painted Barn Media

There were no helmets or shoulder pads as Warren County High School kicked off summer football practice on Monday.

But there was one thing.

A wakeup call.

Coach Matt Turner said nearly 70 players reported Monday with good attitudes, but they were in not-so-good football shape.

“I think there were a lot of guys who probably realized they should have been doing a little more than what they have been,” said Turner. “But after a long layoff, this is about what I thought it would be. It’s hard to self-motivate or even motivate with a buddy. There’s a lot of moving and jumping and exertion to what we’re doing and they’re just not used to that.”

There are 34 returning varsity players from last year’s squad that finished 4-6. They were joined Monday by returning JV players and a number of freshmen.

Players worked mainly on individual skills with one prominent absence – a football.

“I’m anxious to see when we can share a football again,” said Turner. “That will help with a lot. Guys can throw and quarterbacks can work on their handoffs to running backs. That’s a big timing thing so we really need to get back to where we can use a football.”

There was some work on team defense with players spread adequately apart while still maintaining their positions. Turners says he’s heard there’s been some discussion the TSSAA might eliminate one week of the dead period in late June and early July, but no official decision has been made.

It wasn’t the perfect practice, with social distancing restrictions limiting so much of what can be done on the football field, but Turner said it was encouraging to get back to work. The Pioneers are scheduled to open their season Aug. 21 against DeKalb County in Smithville.

“There are some kids who came back with an extra cold drink on them but we’re going to work them back into shape,” said Turner. “We need kids to get back to thinking about proper nutrition and how to stay properly hydrated. We had kids coming off to the side guzzling water and then they couldn’t get out there and do the next drill. We don’t need that happening in a game.”