It’ll be a return to some sense of normalcy as Texas high school football practice in Classes A through 4A commences Monday.
Spring Hill’s Weston Griffis embarks on his first-year as head coach of the Panthers with all the enthusiasm and excitement of a young child.
Griifis expects to welcome out 34 varsity hopefuls bright and early Monday morning.
Following a team meeting around 7:30, the Panthers take to the field at 7:45 for drills.
After a short break and positional meetings, the team returns back to the field with plans to wrap things up by 11:30.
“We have some guidelines given to us by the UIL and we plan to follow them. Everything’s different from what we’ve done normally,” said Griffis.
“We’ll wear face masks going into the building and when exiting the building. We bought gator neck masks for all of our football players to wear. We’re also gonna be testing out the face shields.”
Welcome to the new normal in how high school football practice is conducted.
“It’s all looking a little different. But we’re just glad to be back to some type of normalcy. We’re excited to be back to work. It’s the first time a lot of us have felt some normalcy,” Griffis explained.
“We missed so much this spring with the COVID shutdown. We got a lot back this summer with the skills work. Our first few days of practice will be spent taking care of the little details and covering assignments before we really get going.”
All schools that start practice Monday will be able to don pads and begin full-contact workouts Saturday.
“Our kids really worked their tails off this summer. Doing that skills work was huge for them. But Monday, we’ll start back at ground zero teaching stance, ball get off and all that kind of good stuff,” said Griffis.
“I’m one of those guys that was trained to leave no stone unturned. I’ve carried that over to my new role. The kids are used to me and know my standards and expectations. We’re ready to get going.”
The Panthers scrimmage at Mount Vernon Aug. 20 and kickoff the 2020 regular season home against Sabine Aug. 28.
Andrew Harbison felt like his Spring Hill Lady Panthers were “close” to turning the corner last year. A few tight matches down the stretch wound up in losses and left his girls on the outside looking in when the playoffs began.
“I’m excited and pumped up about the season. I feel like we’re almost there. We’ve just got to get over that hump,” said Harbison, “There’s some unfinished business we’ve got to take care of. We had three or four close games last year that if we’d won it’d been a different situation.”
The Lady Panthers are scheduled to open practice Monday at 8 a.m.. They’ll come back in the afternoon with a second session at 3 p.m.
“We were able to get some skill work done this summer. But volleyball is gonna be sloppy right now. We didn’t have club ball, or play in a spring league or anything like that,” Harbison said.
“We’ll be working on a lot of fundamentals in the early part of the season. It’ll be working on a lot of movement, reading and making crisp passes.”
Spring Hill had its volleyball schedule altered when the University Interscholastic League pushed the start of play for schools in Class 5A and 6A back to September.
The Lady Panthers lost all three scheduled tournaments, matches with Longview, Jacksonville and Pine Tree as well as a scrimmage at Hallsville.
“I was actually on vacation in Colorado when news came from the UIL. I basically put vacation on hold, got on my wife’s hot spot and got online to find games,” Harbison explained. “I was calling coaches and texting coaches. I just started shaking trees to see what kind of fruit would fall. We’ll be home a lot in August and away a lot in September.”
Spring Hill hosts a scrimmage Friday and is at Beckville for one last tuneup Saturday. The Lady Panthers are scheduled to visit cross-town rival White Oak Aug. 11 in the 2020 season opener.