The social distancing is still in place, as is the cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. However, football was being practiced on Monday at Wilson Hall.
It was the first official day for fall sports teams in the South Carolina Independent School Association to practice for the hoped-for startup of the coming school year from the coronavirus pandemic. SCISA schools were originally scheduled to start practice this past Friday, but instead things were shut down last week with the start day moved to Monday.
Barons head coach Adam Jarecki and his staff had the players at the school at 7:30 a.m., handing out helmets for Phase 1 of practice. Jarecki said his players were ready to do something more football-oriented as opposed to the conditioning and weightlifting they've been doing since early June.
"|They've been chomping at the bit to get going," Jarecki said. "I think being shut down last week added to it. They've really worked hard over the summer, and we had a good turnout. With the (coronavirus) restrictions, they've done a good job all summer following those."
Wilson Hall got to use blocking sheds and tackling equipment, among other things, for the first time on Monday. Offensively, the team could do mesh drills and timing routes with the receivers.
"It was great being able to hit something," said senior offensive/defensive lineman Wade Payne. "It was great to be able to get out there and be practicing our form and getting a workout in."
The Barons got to go into the locker room for the first time on Monday, although in small groups, to get their helmets. Once everyone had helmets, the 60-plus varsity and junior varsity players gathered in the home stands of Spencer Field to listen to Jarecki one final time before practice began.
Jarecki reminded his players they could not share water bottles, regardless of whether it was provided by the school or the player himself. If the player depended on the school for water, he had to drink from a cup.
Before the team headed to the baseball field for practice, Jarecki basically told his squad it has to follow the protocol if it wants to play football this year.
"We are doing water breaks a little different," Jarecki said. "We've got to keep them hydrated, that's always been important at this time of year. That's going to be a challenge, because you can't just go get wat when you want it. That kind of has to change."
Something else that changed is everything used in practice on Monday had to be sanitized. Also, all of the helmets were cleaned and disinfected, as well as the lockers.
After a week of helmets, Wilson Hall will be able to add shoulder pads in Phase 2 of practice beginning next Monday. If all goes well, the Barons will be able to work out in full uniform on Aug. 17.
There will be no scrimmages or jamborees this year. The season is scheduled to start on Friday, Aug. 28, pushed back a week from the original start date of Aug. 21.
"We're taking it week by week," Jarecki said. "We going to go along and see how things go. If we have to make adjustments, we'll make adjustments."
Payne said Jarecki talked with his seniors following practice, reminding them to continue to be vigilant with the social distancing.
"He told us to continue to make sure we stay safe away from practice as well, Payne said.
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