Screening and screen passes were part of the mix this past week as the Longview Lobos forged ahead through voluntary summer workouts.
As work continues and builds, the emphasis on safety and precautions remains the high point as COVID-19 cases rose throughout the state, including a number of high school programs that have shuttered workouts as a result.
“Again, I think our players, parents and coaches — everyone involved — have continued to do a great job with everything,” Longview athletic director and head football coach John King said. “I know it gets old but we’re going to continue to do whatever we have to do every day. Everyone has done a good job powering through, following protocols and doing the things we ask.
“We’ve upped our training and I think our condition has improved. We’re not where we need to be but the gap is closing.”
After two weeks of straight strength and conditioning work, all Longview sports added skill work this week. With a small group approach, the work has been a little more hands on but socially distanced at the same time.
“It’s been nice to see all of our athletes move around a little bit more from throwing and catching the ball,” King said. “It’s been unique because you’re doing a lot more one-on-one stuff with them than you maybe would have in the past. You’re able to break it down a little more and focus on certain things.”
For Markevion Haynes, the slow build to summer workouts has been a nice pace as he works back from an injury that caused him to miss his junior football season.
“I think it’s gone great so far,” he said. “I’ve been working hard, staying focused and working to get my leg as strong as possible to get ready. As a team, I’ve learned that we have each others backs and we have leadership. We’re all working hard every day.
“August 3 (the projected start date for practice), we’ve heard that lot. That’s the goal, to get to that day. It’s taken patience and hard work to get to this point and we’ve got a long way to go. I know we’ll get there.”
That’s the date that King has harped on throughout workouts. He said that Longview hasn’t had any player turned away due to a temperature check or pre-screen questionnaire and that the safety measures implemented have been working.
Beginning this coming week, the Lobos and Lady Lobos will take another safety precaution.
“The one thing that we’re going to do differently moving forward is require a face mask or face covering in the weight room,” King said. “We’re in our groups, we’re washing our hands and disinfecting equipment after each use but with the close quarters inside, it’s hard to social distance, especially with spotting and the safety measures it takes to lift weights.
“Luckily for us, we haven’t had any issues and we’re going to do everything we can to keep it that way and wearing a covering inside it only going to help keep us going. It’s an extra precaution that we’re going to take.”
King said the skill work, football-wise, would continue to increase as the Lobos begin to answer a number of questions on both sides of the ball but summer workouts aren’t the end-all, be-all.
“I’ve said it 100 times and I’m sure I’ll say it 100 more, we’re not showing up here just to have something to do,” he said. “We’re trying to get to the fall and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make that happen, safety-wise.
“We’ve got to find a way to curb this thing. Everyone is excited for the ball to get here but they’re not foolish enough to think that we’re going to get there without there being some kind of illness. We’re not going to stop the spread of COVID-19 but what we can do is everything possible to limit the spread in big numbers. That’s here, that’s at home and that’s for every single person involved.”
King announced a few fall dates this past week as well. The Lobos will have media day and an instrasquad scrimmage set for Aug. 8 before hosting Lufkin for a scrimmage on Aug. 14. The second scrimmage is set for Aug. 20 or Aug. 21 against Texas High at Lobo Stadium.