For are coaches and players, the only sure thing about high school football in 2020 is that it is going to look very different. “This offseason has been completely different,” Legacy third-year …
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For are coaches and players, the only sure thing about high school football in 2020 is that it is going to look very different.
“This offseason has been completely different,” Legacy third-year coach Corey Heinz said in an email last week. “Normally, at this time, we would have had a scrimmage and 10 practices under our belt. We have worked hard to install with our kids online slowly but have also tried to give kids a bit of space. I think our numbers for summer show the excitement to get playing again. I think it’s definitely a huge part of the high school experience and is needed for kids.”
Approaching year No. 17 as the commander of the Horizon football program, Frank Ybarra has never seen an altered offseason of this magnitude. Through caution and following the leadership of the Colorado High School Activities Association, unique guidelines and restrictions have changed the way the veteran coach runs his program, after a solid ending to the 2019 season.
“We are currently in Phase 2 of our Live Workouts,” Ybarra said. “Phase 1 presented challenges in that we were only allowed 25 players at a time on one each field, and we could not use any equipment. We could work for three days, but only one-hour max. This forced us to be creative in developing workouts that would improve player conditioning and position skills. Also, with over 100 players, we needed to create five different groups of 25, which forced us to be more efficient with our time. At this time, we do not know exactly when we will be able to practice as one team, so camp is still up in the air.”
Uncertainty also clouds the Thornton football program under third-year coach Nick Trombetta - who lost 19 seniors from last year’s squad.
“Workouts have been unique,” Trombetta said in an email last week. “Obviously, there is no precedent for something like this, so it is all about adaptation. Our offseason was already challenging with graduating 19 seniors from last year’s team, so this just adds another component. The challenge is to temper everyone’s eagerness to get back to football when all you can do is condition and agility-type work. Coaches and players really just want to get the football out and get to work. Everyone is very far behind. The major challenge for our team is the limited access to potential players. Hard to ‘recruit the hallways’ when there hasn’t been a hallway for a few months.”
Regardless of the difficulties and frustrations through lack of football activities up to this point, Legacy (3-8 in 2019), Horizon (4-6), Thornton (3-7) and other North Metro teams in Northglenn (1-9), Westminster (5-5), Holy Family (5-6), Skyview (3-7), and Mountain Range (4-6) will hopefully begin their regular seasons Aug. 28 (excluding Horizon, Aug. 27 and Westminster, Skyview, Sept. 4).
“As of right now, camp is still scheduled the same as it was when I set dates in February, so outside of being behind in conditioning and not getting an opportunity to have spring ball, we should be able to get back on track,” Trombetta said. “I am hopeful, but not confident, in a full schedule this fall. The biggest struggle for me and the main reason for my tempered excitement is the unknown. So, much of the schedule with COVID is touch and go, so I am working while trying to peek around the corner to see what is next. There are a lot of rumors swirling about what the format of the season will look like, so we are really trying to adopt the philosophy, ‘If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.’“
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