Unlike divisions A through 4A, Texas 5A and 6A high school football teams have not been allowed to hold official practices because of concerns that their large number of players would lead to COVID-19 outbreaks.
That changed Monday, as dictated by state law.
“Man, I’m so glad to be back," Ray High School head football coach Craig Charlton said. "That’s the best thing. Seeing these kids get their helmets on and running around playing football -- a sport they love.”
Prior to today's practices, the biggest of high schools could only hold strength-and-conditioning activities. And those have been conducted with social distancing and mask-wearing in mind.
“Our kids have done a good job following all the protocols," Flour Bluff High School head football coach and athletic director Chris Steinbruck said. "Our coaches have done a good job."
One precaution Flour Bluff High School took in the interest of social distancing was moving a portion of locker room activities to the school's training field.
"We’ve moved our locker rooms out here . . . so we can stay out of the close quarters of our locker room until we feel like it’s safe enough to go back in there," Steinbruck said.
Neither coach interviewed for this story believes the delayed start to fall practice will have an effect on his team's winning percentage.
The new schedule will have the regular season ending in late November or early December, which usually is reserved for the playoffs. It means Charlton's squad, which finished with a 2-8 record last season, will get a taste of early-winter football.
“Hey, we’re playing on Thanksgiving," Charlton said. "It’s happening. I’m telling you right now. We are playing on Thanksgiving. It’s a guarantee.”