Area schools enter crucial period for hopeful fall season

Jourdanton Head Coach Darrell Andrus discusses a penalty with a referee during the Indians’ meeting with the Lytle Pirates in 2019. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

On Monday, July 13, Jourdanton and Charlotte High Schools resumed their workouts after they had each been suspended for weeks in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

Charlotte was the first school in Atascosa County to halt their workouts on June 17. Jourdanton followed less than a week later on June 23 after a student-athlete tested positive for the coronavirus. Pleasanton and Poteet, who stopped their workouts on June 26 and 29 respectively, are scheduled to resume their summer workouts on Monday, June 20.

Athletes attending workouts had to wear masks any time they weren’t actively participating in the workout and any time that six-feet of social distancing wasn’t feasible. That was part of the UIL’s enhanced guidelines for safely conducting workouts. Charlotte has opted to document each athlete’s temperature before each workout as a way to track their health through the pandemic. The UIL has also said students participating in distance learning will be eligible to compete in UIL events, as long as they meet the other standards, such as grades.

“It was very rewarding just to see the kids faces and interact with them as best as we can with all the safety precautions and guidelines we’re taking,” Charlotte Head football Coach Jason Brock said. “We’re still very limited. You can’t just have the normal conversations, but you can still interact for the most part. Just to hear their voices and see their excitement, … the optimism they have of them having a senior year or having a sport or getting to support the seniors, it’s amazing. It’s real rewarding.”

Monday’s return also marked the start of drills that pit one or more players on offense against one or more on defense. The UIL loosened the restrictions, which previously said sport specific drills can be done, but on air rather than against another player.

“I think it’s big. It’s hard to say, with everything going on, what exactly anything means, though,” Jourdanton Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darrell Andrus said, “because it seems like stuff changes daily. I think that’s the hard part for everything, not just football. It’s just unknown, the chance we get to start back up and then shut back down, those types of things. As far as actual preparation for football, I think it’s great. I think the kids will be excited.”

Meanwhile, college athletic conferences around the country have started to take evasive action out of caution for the fall. 

The Big 10 and Pac-12 conferences announced conference-only schedules last week. The Ivy and Patriot Leagues, and the National Junior College Athletic Association have each opted not to hold contact sports in the fall, with the NJCAA moving sports like football, volleyball and soccer to the spring. The Ivy and Patriot Leagues said that was a possibility for them.

The uncertainty of what the fall will look like, if it happens at all, is something area coaches recognize. These next couple of weeks will be crucial to the fate of the fall season as it pertains to how the spread of the virus can be contained in high school athletics.

“I think they’re very important because we’re coming up on the very first day of school,” Charlotte Athletic Director Shawn Vowell said, noting he is hopeful for football and volleyball in the fall. “Somebody’s gonna have to step on that ledge and say, ‘Because of [the coronavirus], we’re not going to school,’ or ‘Because of this, we’re not playing sports.’ It’s critical.”

At the time of press, area coaches have been told to plan to start practices on Monday, Aug. 3, as scheduled.

“To me, it feels like they hope we’re gonna have a season. That’s the optimistic part about that,” Poteet Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darby House said. “It’s steps in the right direction of saying, ‘Hey, I think we’re gonna have a season.’”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *