Photo: West End football players Hunter Tucker (left) and Kaleb Pierce (right) listen as head coach Kyle Davis (center) gives instructions during a summer workout session last Monday (June 8) in Walnut Grove. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Slowly but surely, area student-athletes are shaking off several weeks’ worth of rust from the spring coronavirus quarantine.
Following a recent Alabama High School Athletic Association announcement that member schools were allowed to begin summer workouts, the Etowah, Hokes Bluff, Ashville, Glencoe and Westbrook Christian football teams started summer workouts this past Monday and Tuesday (June 8–9). Gadsden City, Sardis, Southside, Gaston, West End and Coosa Christian began their workouts on June 1 and June 2.
According to AHSAA guidelines, all coaches, athletes and personnel may be screened each day for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection prior to participating in any workout or gathering. Only school personnel, coaches, athletic trainers and student-athletes should be present during activities while maintaining distance of six feet between each person whenever possible. For any activity requiring interaction closer than six feet, a facial covering is recommended.
Westbrook Christian head football coach Drew Noles was pleased that his squad hit the ground running amidst social distancing requirements.
“We actually accomplished all we set out to do today,” he said following the Warriors’ first workout on Monday. “The kids worked hard and did a good job of keeping their distance from each other, and we were able to rotate the groups pretty well. We were focused on what we were supposed to be doing, which was good.
“I think the kids were just excited to be back. It was a lot of work to get everything ready beforehand. All the coaches got here early, and even my wife showed up to help with the temperature station.”
West End head coach Kyle Davis believed that the COVID-19 changes in the workout routine are beneficial to his players in the long run.
“Is it against our norm? Yes. But football is all about training people to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Obviously, it’s not a great thing that we’re going through, but it’s a good thing in that we’re applying football lessons to what we’re actually doing out here. Our kids are excited to get back at it. Looking at what happened to our seniors in the spring, these kids aware that they should take nothing for granted and cherish every opportunity they get to go out there and compete.”
Glencoe head coach Brian Alred split up the Yellow Jackets’ workouts by position to assist with social distancing measures, with the skill players reporting first and lineman later in the morning.
“The guys obviously aren’t at the level they were at before the shutdown, but they’ve come in and done a really good job,” he said. “They’ve tried to stay in shape during the break, but these kids were definitely ready to get back and get in a real weight room setting.”