By August Ewert-Harpold
The Oak Hall School football team is following stringent guidelines to stay safe and in the game all season. In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the team has adopted multiple precautionary measures designed to keep the team players as safe as possible. The coaches have been following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well as those of the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) and Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). Head coach RJ Fuhr, along with the rest of the coaching staff have been very conscious of safety this season. Some of the measures that they have implemented, due to the FHSAA’s rules include “social distancing, mask wearing when possible, and limits to players in locker rooms”.
Before the games and practices all players must wear masks. Players also have to bring their own water bottles to hydrate. In addition, when conditioning occurs, all the players stay socially distanced. The game ball is also cleaned and disinfected between offensive series. With tackling during practices, the coaches have decided to limit the number of times this occurs. The restrictions and guidelines have not kept the team down. “I don’t think any of my teammates are worried,” said one of the team captains, senior Andrew Pickens. “We understand the pros and cons of playing football and it’s a choice we’ve made,” he continued.
In addition to Pickens, Carter Coleman, Jake Gill, and Brian Storey have stepped up their game as captains, to keep the team safe, and making sure that everyone is following the rules they were given by the coaches. “I feel totally safe and trust my coaches completely,” Pickens noted. “Everyone is really fired up and we’ve been rallying around each other.”
During the summer the team didn’t use the weight room and were practicing social distancing on the field. The team is now practicing four days a week after school, with games on Friday nights as long as all goes well.
Even though there are a lot of limitations to playing during a pandemic, Fuhr believes his players have adapted to the uncertainty of the season. “They are very cooperative and I’m very proud of their ability to handle adversity and how flexible and coachable they have all been,” he said.