Although the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced in August that it would delay the first game of the football season until Feb. 26, 2021, the Chapel Hill High School football team is beginning to prepare now.
“We’re staying optimistic and making sure that we have everything in place so that if we are able to resume play, then we will be ready,” head coach Isaac Marsh said.
Players have been instructed to participate in online workouts over Google Meet in addition to taking a weightlifting class as part of their workload this semester.
Under the new circumstances, skill position players, like wide receiver Kyhlil Jones, get together for early morning practices before school three times a week.
Because the team isn't allowed to hold official practices until Feb. 8, Jones is typically the one to encourage his teammates to stay active despite the extended offseason.
“He does a good job making sure everybody gets to the field,” junior quarterback Caleb Kelley said.
In years past, Chapel Hill High School had been unable to field a varsity team due to a lack of interest. But now the team features over a dozen seniors, who have hopes this season could aid in college recruiting. Both Jones and Kelley have aspirations to continue playing at the collegiate level and recognize the impact a canceled season could have on their futures.
“Most colleges, they want to see the senior film as well to make sure I maintain playing good,” Jones said.
Once play resumes, new precautionary measures will be enforced to keep players and coaches safe. These include sideline extensions, regularly cleaning equipment and requiring all players to bring their own water bottles.