J.H. Rose getting ready for football season despite unknown

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:03 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Despite the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming high school fall sports season, the J.H. Rose football team has been conducting weekly workouts since mid-June to get ready, regardless.

Because of COVID-19, there are many more questions than answers when it comes to high school sports in the fall, specifically in regards to football. What we do know is that NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker remains cautiously optimistic about fall sports being played in North Carolina. According to HighSchoolOT, as of right now 45 percent of school districts in the state have suspended all sports activities, including voluntary workouts, four percent have no update and 51 percent of school districts in the state have returned to some sort of sports related activities, including Pitt County.

The J.H. Rose football program has been holding voluntary workouts since June 15. For the first two weeks the Rampants worked out Monday through Friday. However, they have since adjusted to only working out three days per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

“I think this team is hungry,” said first-year head coach Will Bland. “They want to show everybody that they’re good. They want to show everybody that they can compete at a high level and hopefully compete for a state championship.”

The state allows for 1.5 hours of voluntary workout time, so the Rampants have been spending 45 minutes lifting and the other 45 minutes implementing new offensive and defensive schemes.

“It’s a blessing that we’re actually able to be out here and get this early work in,” said rising junior and heavily-recruited running back Michael Allen. “I’m really just excited for that because we have a whole bunch of weapons coming back, especially on offense, so I want to see what we’re going to do.”

Between Allen, senior quarterback Wade Jarman and senior wide receiver Kevin Hamilton, new offensive coordinator Caleb King is salivating at what could be if a season gets played.

“There’s a lot of weapons on the team,” said King. “Just an incredible group of guys. I can’t say enough about their work ethic. They come in everyday. They’re ready to go. They’re excited to be here. They can really play.”

Remember, King has won three state titles and used to be Havelock’s head football coach. He left the Rams last year though to be the head football coach at Easley High School down in South Carolina. King is back in Eastern North Carolina though, and joining forces with one of his longtime best friends.

“Coach Bland is doing an amazing job here, and when he offered me this opportunity to come in here and coach the offense, it was just something that I was really excited to do,” King added.

Former New Bern head football coach Steve Lovett is also on Rampants’ staff this season as their new defensive coordinator. He has two state titles under his belt.

Like other teams working out around Pitt County, Rose football is taking all necessary safety measures to hopefully ensure a season this fall.

“Hopefully they allow us to get back on the fields as soon as possible because I believe it’s good for the kids, good for the community so we can get out and play ball and interact with each other,” Bland added.

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