The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

Mia Hong

The football team conducts a drill for their quarterbacks and receivers.

Football anticipates non-SPC games

Shortened to an hour a day, the football team’s Phase II minimal-contact practice consists of position-group work and ends with 20 minutes of conditioning. The coaches have not yet held full team scrimmages in order to maximize time-restricted position drills and respect social distancing guidelines. 

Captain George Caldwell said the team has the most trouble social distancing when standing around on the field before practice starts. Players tend to socialize, so the coaches have to frequently remind them of the importance of shared responsibility.

“The coaches will warn us to take this seriously [at all times] because if we get in trouble, this whole practice experiment could blow up in our face,” said Caldwell, a senior.

According to Caldwell, head coach Kevin Veltri encourages players to attend practices if possible but emphasizes that starting positions and playing time will not be affected if they are absent. Veltri continues to motivate those who are able to practice in-person with the acronym HYPRR: how, why, process, results and response. The “Y” is the reason why players compete.

“It is tough to find your ‘Y’ when a lot of people’s ‘Y’s are beating Kinkaid and having a great season,” Caldwell said.

The team is still optimistic about playing against the Kinkaid Falcons at Rice Stadium in October. Since the game is typically last on their schedule, players hope the School will have enough time to find a way to make it happen. 

Internal competitions, such as farthest throw or kick challenges, are held on Fridays to fill the gap of the missing games.

“[Internal competitions] get our minds right so that we are ready for when the lights turn on,” Veltri said. 

Players have considered different types of competition with other schools if the rest of their season is canceled. Caldwell has reached out to a Kinkaid captain about coordinating a socially-distanced dodgeball game. 

Phase III of the athletics reopening plan, which starts on Sept. 29, will permit normal practices like any prior year with full gear and contact. The COVID-19 Task Force meets at the end of every phase to evaluate the school and local zip codes’ case numbers as well as many other factors. Their decisions dictate how football will proceed.

“As soon as we get that go-ahead, we’ll go,” Veltri said.

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