Finally! High school football practice kicks off in ENC

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:45 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - After a lengthy delay due to COVID-19, the high school football season finally kicked off this week with practices starting Monday throughout the state.

WITN Sports checked in with a few teams in Pitt County (D.H. Conley, J.H. Rose, South Central) to see how they’re preparing for the upcoming season, which begins Friday, Feb. 26.

The helmets are on.

“You definitely appreciate it, especially during a day with the sun shining, and you hear the pads popping; you really appreciate being out here,” South Central head coach Andy Tew said.

The masks are up.

“We’ll take this every single day,” added D.H. Conley head coach Nate Conner. “I think we’d be willing to play all the time this time of year if we got this every day.”

After weeks of waiting, high school football is finally underway here in North Carolina.

“Pure excitement,” said J.H. Rose head coach Will Bland. “The kids are coming out here. We had two gorgeous days of weather, and the kids are out here running around and giving a great effort, so we’re excited.”

“I’m really excited that we’ve been able to get out here and practice,” added Tew. “Just getting this thing underway, it’s been such a long time coming.”

Now more than ever, coaches are stressing team over everything.

“We like to do things as a team, so I’m not really sure who’s going to show up,” said Tew. “I think that our senior class, we have some guys that are going to show up and do some good things for us, but we’re going to be counting on some of these younger guys too to step up and take a role.”

“We can only control ourselves,” added Bland. “We can’t control what everybody else does, so if we keep ourselves safe, then we’ll be able to go through the whole season unscathed.”

Coaches are also praising their players’ patience.

“They’re a resilient group,” said Conner. “These guys have been great through everything. They’ve done anything we’ve asked them to do through this whole period, dating back to last March.”

And this season, following COVID protocols will be critical.

“Take it one day at a time and continue to prepare,” added Conner. “Then when something gets thrown our way, let’s have an open mind and look for the solution, not the problem; ready to adapt.”


D.H. Conley opens the season at home against Southern Wayne at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26

J.H. Rose opens the season at home against New Bern at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26

South Central opens the season at home against C.B. Aycock at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26

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