FORT MILL – Football season for Fort Mill schools will officially kickoff June 15 – without an actual football in hand.
All three Fort Mill high schools will begin football workouts next Monday. That day kicks off Phase I of the reopening of high school sports with many restrictions and guidelines leading the way in what coaches, teams and players can and cannot do.
Nation Ford head coach Michael Allen said his staff is ready.
“We have been talking about this for three months,” he said. “There is a lot of logistics to the whole process.”
Nation Ford will be holding workouts from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for the next two weeks beginning June 15. Allen pointed out that the workouts are more of getting players ready for football and won’t have much to do with actual x’s and o’s.
“All we can do is build strength, speed and endurance,” he said. “We are going to get them in shape.”
The first 10 days of workouts will be apart of Phase I. There is no certain date of when Phase II or Phase III would start.
“This is moving and changing constantly,” Allen said.
The school district has to follow an eight-page document on the dos and don’ts of reopening from the S.C. High School League (SCHSL). If teams can stick to these guidelines, they can move to Phase II eventually.
Initially, the district had everything shutdown until July 1, but with the SCHSL saying that school districts can reopen in their own timing, Fort Mill started working the week of June 1 to lay out ways to reopen after the SCHSL.
Part of the guidelines is that teams can have no more than 10 to a group, which means one coach and nine players. Athletic trainers and coaches also have to check temperatures daily and make sure that everyone has a face covering. Social distancing is required as well.
Catawba Ridge head coach Zac Lendyak said he is just glad to get back to some resemblance of sports.
“We are excited to be getting back to work,” he said. “This is a very important step in getting to play football in the fall. Obviously, no one has ever had to deal with a situation like this, so we are taking it one step at a time. My coaching staff and administration have had a ton of meetings and we feel like we have a plan in place to get us back on the field as a full team as soon as possible.”
Catawba Ridge will be holding workouts just three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. having kids arrive in staggered schedules.
Getting started on June 15 is a benefit to Fort Mill School District teams due to the fact that school districts can individually control when they start. It is possible that some districts and high schools start before others giving them an advantage. Other school districts in the harder hit areas of the state that have been affected by COVID-19 haven’t released start dates.
Fort Mill will be working out Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. during Phase I.
“We got to have the players’ safety in mind,” said Jackets’ head coach Rob McNeely. “I am just glad to be back. We will be spending a lot of time outside.”
McNeely said he feels that the athletes will adjust once they can get into a flow of things.
“It is all about routine with the coaches and running a program,” he said. “It is going to be hard to adjust at first.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep