HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN) — For coaches and players, it’s what they have been waiting for.
“These kids they need it. They have been cooped up for almost a year now,” said Robert Furth, Holly Springs High School head football coach.
Monday marks the first official day of practice for high school football statewide.
Football at public schools didn’t happen in the fall due to COVID-19.
“I haven’t been on the field since I got hurt last year so it just feels good to come back,” said Holly Springs High football player Derek Coombs.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, coaches and staff across the Triangle say they are working to keep everyone safe.
“That’s an added responsibility because you are talking about people’s lives at this point. We got to create our own bubble. If we want to be successful, we have to be disciplined not only here on the field when they are with me but when they go home,” said Darius Robinson, Southern Durham High School head football coach.
David Green is the head coach at Green Hope High School in Cary and he said players have to wear masks and they have been exploring the idea of installing masks that attach inside helmets.
“So, [we’re] doing the health screenings. Probably the biggest issue is keeping kids socially distanced,” Green said.
While safety is top of mind, coaches like Green and Robinson said they are working to make sure guys who may be on the fringe, get the attention of college recruiters.
“This season is very critical for me actually. It’s my last chance to show college coaches that I can play at that level,” said Omari Smith, Southern Durham High School’s starting quarterback.
Robinson said recruiters have told him the first two to three games are very important because of restrictions on seeing players on the field in-person.
“There are not as many scholarships out there,” Green said.
If a player, coach or staff member does test positive for COVID-19, they have to go through protocols set by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.