Friday night lights. Cheerleaders pumping their pom-poms in the air as the Dawson County Tigers football team pushes through the banner to start the game. It will all be back very soon.
Well, not all back to normal, but the Dawson County Football team will be returning to practice on Monday, June 8. The Tigers will meet at three different school fields: at Dawson County Middle School, junior high, and of course, the high school stadium.
“We have to try to be as efficient as we can so we’ve got a lot of limitations on what we can do with guys having summer jobs on top of the GHSA restrictions,” Head Coach Sid Maxwell said.
Maxwell said he and his staff have been doing a lot of prep work to make sure everything stays as safe as possible.
For grades 10-12, practice will start at 7 a.m on Monday. At the junior high facility, interior linemen, or Maxwell’s ‘strength’ group will start with a 50-minute workout. At the high school, Maxwell will work on his ‘force’ group, who will be able to utilize the high school weight room facility.
However, no football will be present at practice yet, as the team focuses on keeping everybody healthy.
“Right now we’re worried more about building athletes,” Maxwell said. “Not having a football out there doesn’t bother me. we’ll bring one out when we can, but I’m not sure when that’ll happen.”
Those groups will finish their workouts at 9 a.m. Since the offensive coordinator will already be at the junior high, Maxwell will send his offensive ‘speed’ group to the junior high to work on running routes with parachutes until 11 a.m.
The defensive speed position will come to the high school and work on becoming more athletic rather than any football style movements.
Even with the sanctions limiting groups to less than 20 people, Maxwell and his staff have gone a step further. Nine athletes will be paired up with one coach. While one group is in the weight room, another will be outside on the field.
Though the high school coaches usually work with the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teams, to limit the number of people that need to see each other every day, the coaches have decided that they will not work with any middle school team until the season officially starts.
The freshman will be divided into two practice groups. The first group will practice From 8 to 9:30 a.m., the next group will practice until 11 a.m. Both groups will practice at the middle school.
Before all practices, players and coaches will get their temperature checked. If they are above 100.3, they will have to meet with a trainer for further testing and questions on how symptomatic the athlete or coach is. If deemed ill, players and coaches can be quarantined for two weeks.
“That way, if someone were to get sick, you’re only losing nine guys and a couple coaches, rather than a quarter of our team,” Maxwell said.
So strap in. A full return for football looks like it may be just around the corner. The public will have to continue to wait, as practices are not open to the public.