By Mark Nagi
Tuesday, May 26 was a big day for some Knox County football teams.
The high school fields were once again busy, as teams began the process of resuming organized workouts in anticipation of the 2020 season.
“It’s been different,” said Grace Christian Academy head coach Rusty Bradley. “When we got out for Spring Break on March 16, we had no idea that we wouldn’t be coming back to school. I think we did the best that we could with it. We gave them workouts to do on their own the first four to five weeks. We made a challenge out of it to post funny videos on twitter. Then the last five weeks we did team Zoom workouts. I think our guys did a good job with that, but unfortunately that isn’t the same as being in the weight room.”
Bradley added, “Coming back and getting in the weight room will take some adjustment. We are basically back where we were in February instead of building on what we did between February and the end of May. We are behind but I think because of what our guys did we can get back quickly.”
Over at South-Doyle, the Cherokees were like other teams, giving enough space on the field and working on conditioning last week. There will be a time for footballs to be through the pads to crunch. That time isn’t now.
“While we have been off, we tried to stay in touch with players through our Remind app and texting,” said South-Doyle head coach Clark Duncan. “We encouraged them to do things, but they are limited. Some had weights and some didn’t. The good thing is we are back. We are excited. We have managed it. There is a lot of anxiety with the unknown. We just tried to be even keel and tell them to make sure they are social distancing and wanted them to lift and run as much as they could. Just trying to stay positive.”
In North Knox County, the Halls Red Devils are hoping to build on a 2019 season which saw them advance to the Class 5A playoffs. Last November seems like a lifetime ago.
“It’s a really odd feeling being out here,” said Halls head coach Scott Cummings. “We are trying to social distance and keep kids apart and that’s not the easiest thing. We’ve had to have a very detailed plan to do that. Summer has started off very odd. We are used to coming in and hugging on our kids and high fiving them and we can’t do those things. That’s a little disheartening right now. But everybody is in the same boat. Hopefully, we can get to Phase 3 and lighten the restrictions and guidelines even more and get back to more normality.”
Cummings added, “We thought we were going to start June 1, which I was fine with. Then when they announced we could get out here on May 26, we had to get on it. There was a sense of relief and excitement. My phone was blowing up with kids texting and parents emailing. We are happy to be here and see the kids again.”
Many other Knox County schools were scheduled to get back underway on Monday, June 1.