SHALLOTTE, N.C. (WECT) – The official start of the 2021 high school football season is just one week away, but players and coaches are battling the ongoing pandemic and a short offseason turnaround.
Friday night, six Cape Fear teams had the chance for a final tune-up in a series of three scrimmages hosted by West Brunswick High School, called “Bash at the Beach.”
Just 119 days ago, West Brunswick’s football team played it’s last home game, a playoff bout against Chapel Hill. Now, the team is less than a week away from kickoff.
As part of the event Friday, North Brunswick played Ashley, Laney played Whiteville, and West Brunswick faced off against Wallace-Rose Hill.
“It’s a great showcase for not only our program, but for our county,” said West Brunswick head coach Brett Hickman.
The fans were packed with fans from all six teams Friday, but Hickman says his team is not letting it’s guard down when it comes to COVID-19.
“A lot of it seems normal but we are still very aware that this is still a real thing,” said Hickman, “We have to stay on our toes to guard against exposures and all of the things that come with it.”
For the players, avoiding exposures means being cautions both on and off of the field.
“It’s been good that we’re gonna get to go back full now,” said West Brunswick senior linebacker Carter Wyatt. “We’ve been doing a good job wearing our masks inside, especially at the school, you know, just doing what we’re told. We just want to be able to play.”
The virus moved the 2020 season to this past spring, meaning that teams have had to deal with a quick turnaround to prepare for the start of the fall 2021 season.
“I don’t know if anybody’s real comfortable right now with where their team is just because of the quick turnaround and the fact that you really haven’t had a lot of time to get underclassmen as prepared as we would have without a spring practice,” said Hickman.
Players like Wyatt, however, do not seem to mind the shortened offseason. He says it feels like the spring season never ended.
“It’s been great, honestly,” said Wyatt. “We just, we never really took a break after, really. All of us stayed in the weight room, we all stayed working out like at school, at practice, stuff like that.”
WECT will have coverage of the high school football season each week on wect.com and Friday nights on WECT News at 11.
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.