The preparations for the football season for the Panthers are more different this year than in the past. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our way of life has been changed and athletics, not just on the high school level, have been placed on hold.
Smiths Station was forced to cancel the remainder of the spring sports back in March due to the virus. The Panther football team did not get to start its spring training before going into the off season before summer workouts. By this point, a 2020 football season was not promised, and the football team was behind.
On June 8th, the Panthers got back to work and held it is first day of summer workouts. The workouts have been quite different than in the past. The offense and defense hold practices at different times to avoid cross contamination.
Summer conditioning usually consist of just shorts and a t-shirt, this year players needed to bring some additional gear, a face mask. The football program provided the face masks for 200 kids and all the coaches to ensure safety is met for the times they have to break away from the six-foot bubble.
“The precautions we are having to take are taking a lot of money out of our program.” said head coach Mike Glisson.
Glisson was feeling good about his team’s conditioning and work ethic during early March with his kids getting bigger and stronger. Hitting the weight room is a little tougher to do this year as well. The coaches are allowing one kid per weight rack and cleaning the racks after every use.
The Boys Athletic Director and assistant football coach Brian Nelson said, “We are trying to be overly cautious and overly careful to make sure we can go in the fall.”
As of right now a full season is not guaranteed but hopefully all the teams can follow the guidelines set by the AHSAA this summer and we can have a full season and a close to normal football season in 2020.
The Smiths Station community can look forward to Aug. 21 as the Panthers’ season kickoffs against Russell County at Panther Stadium.