This time last year, with the COVID pandemic wreaking havoc, trying to prepare for a high school football was, well, trying.
Players had to practice and work out in small groups, temperatures were taken daily, cleanliness was taken to the extreme and there was a feeling of uncertainty about whether the season would even be played.
This year, as the area’s four high school football teams prepare for the 2021 football that starts in three weeks, things are back to normal.
Covington, which will host scrimmages against South Side this Friday and Huntingdon next Friday, recently switched to evening practices because of rising temperatures this week. Other than that, it’s been business as usual.
“For us, it’s like we’re back to normal,” said Covington coach J.R. Kirby. “It’s been like that since January for us. No masks, no taking temperatures.”
Covington had to forfeit its playoff game last year because of COVID issues. Kirby is optimistic that will not be an issue this year.
“It’s been smooth, no issues, knock on wood, but we didn’t have any last year until the end of the year. We hope that stays the same. We’ve been operating like it’s a normal year and that’s what we expect.”
Over at Brighton, the Cardinals have been lifting weights at 8 a.m. and hitting the practice field after that.
The Cardinals will scrimmage Bolivar this Friday and Briarcrest next Friday, both on the road.
“Definitely,” Brighton coach Mike David said when asked if things were different this year. “Last year was tough because most of the summer you could only be with 10 players at a time. It took a while to get the team together This year’s been a whole different story.”
Tipton-Rosemark has been practicing in the mornings as well. The Rebels will host Millington in a scrimmage on Friday.
“It’s been great,” said first-year TRA head coach William Dean. “Things feel like they’re back to normal.”
Munford, which scrimmages Arlington Friday and Evangelical Christian School next Thursday, both on the road, has been hitting the practice field at 9:30 a.m.
Head coach Slade Calhoun said getting back to normal has made the job of the coaching staff much easier than last year.
“Last year, sometimes I’d be on the phone 8 to 10 hours a day trying to figure out how to structure practice. We’d be here all day working out pods of players. The regulations were always changing. It was just crazy.”