On Monday, June 15 the North Carolina High School Athletic Association ended the “dead period” brought on by the COVID 19 outbreak. The return to athletic competition began in the form of workouts that fell under heavy regulations.
“Right now, all we know is the state has told us they will do everything they can to have a football season,” said Hayesville High School’s head football coach Chad McClure. The first step to that potential season were Monday’s workouts which were welcomed by McClure. “Today was the first time I’ve seen some of these kids since March,” the head Jacket said. “It was good to be back on the turf. Workouts were structured somewhat differently but the kids adapted well. My staff has been great and did a great job today creating drills. It was different and challenging but we enjoyed every minute of it.”
The Phase 1 workout sessions eliminates indoor workouts such as training in the weight room. “We can lift outside, condition and conduct drills as long as we maintain proper social distance and have under 25 total people,” said McClure. He also stated all equipment was disinfected after each use.
Although he was happy to get something going, McClure said these workouts are much different than what would normally be happening this time of year. “Normally by now we would be hitting the weight room hard then working on plays and participating in seven on sevens.” With the current rules, quarterbacks aren’t allowed to take a snap, hand off to a running back or even throw a pass.
For now, the Yellow Jackets will be concentrating on strength, conditioning and technique. The NCHSAA currently has Aug. 1 listed as the first day of fall sports practice. McClure said he hopes that date brings with it some sense of normalcy.
As far as preparation for the upcoming season, McClure said it’s been a unique challenge. “It’s been very difficult to plan because of so many unknowns.” When asked about the biggest obstacle, coach McClure replied, “Not being able to see and work with our players. These kids are why I do this and it’s difficult to see them have to go through this.”
While there are still many unknowns, McClure says he has to approach the 2020 season as business as usual. “I have a plan for a regular start and will adapt that as I have to. I just want these kids and our community to be able to enjoy those Friday night lights.”
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to kickoff their season at home Friday, Aug. 21 against the Towns County Indians.