FOOTBALL BEGINS: Coaches, players prepare for practicing during a pandemic

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Football practice officially began in Texas for Class 4A schools and smaller on Monday, August 3.

This year, typical practices and scrimmages look different amid the pandemic. Just like every Texan in public, players and coaches are encouraged to stay distanced and wear masks when possible.

“The kids got to arrive in a mask. They leave in a mask. We have monitoring we in the locker rooms we got to be really spaced out,” Snyder Tigers coach Wes Wood said.

“We’re staying apart a lot, trying to communicate online rather than in person and doing a lot of stuff like that. Not a lot of in-person contact,” said Wimberley High senior offensive guard Walt Gold. “The only time that we’re really seeing all of each other’s whenever we’re all out here together.”

While players are encouraged to wear masks as often as they can, the face coverings often come off once they hit the field. Social distancing is also near impossible with such a high-contact sport, but there are other precautions players and parents can take.

“The best team player this time is going to be the one who is honest and willing to say, ‘Listen, I don’t feel well. I’m sick, I feel feverish.’ And they have got to stay home,” explained Dr. Rodney Young with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Young said he understands this might mean missing some practices or games, but said it’s necessary to get through the season.

“It’s a lot to ask, but it’s only going to take one or two people coming in when they are feeling a little bit questionable to potentially spread something that could end up sabotaging the whole season for their team,” Dr. Young said. “Or potentially for other teams as well.”

Some players are determined to keep the season going by focusing on the consequences of ignoring safety measures.

“If one person gets it, and none of us have our masks on that. We’re all quarantined. And that’s just the season gone,” said Wellington Rockets senior Gavin Wood.

Jonesboro Eagles coach Eddie Gallegos said his team is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the season going.

“It’s kind of like anything else we practice,” Gallegos said. “They’re going to become habits and the coaches, the coaching staff, we’re going to do a really good job of communicating expectations with these new guidelines and safety measures.”

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