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Duval high school sports inching toward season with unknown start

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Like just about everything this year, the move to Phase III was delayed Monday. Not by the coronavirus this time, but by the storm that missed us. Tuesday, teams across the county began to incorporate segments of live practices and scrimmages into their routines. And today, it felt a little bit more like football season.

“It is, you know, once you get that ball flying around and guys using some equipment and the weight room opens it up a little bit more, you’re getting closer to football,” Sandalwood head coach Adam Geis said. “We got a lot of conditioning in the last month and a half and we got some time so we’ll get the balls out down and, and hopefully moving forward to full pads.”

In a typical year, teams would be in pads and going through full drills by now. It should be pointed out that this is a modified Phase 3. Still, a lot more conditioning now than there would have been previously, but because they were allowed to bring the footballs out on the field Tuesday.

Things seemed a little more normal. With the FHSAA board scheduled to meet next week, there are still questions about how the season will play out and how the decision will impact scheduling.

“I know that we’re gonna be skipping weeks wanting to and we’re going to start as of right now with week three, which would be here, which would be our first game,” Geis said. I know the problems that will arise are the teams that are playing out of area teams like in the other part of the state. We’ve got a game with Ocala-Vanguard scheduled on there. I’m not sure if that’s going to go down, so we’re gonna have to find a week three (opponent).”

In the end, Geis is preaching to his staff to be agile and be ready to adjust on the fly—just like so many of us have to do during the pandemic.

“I think our county has done a great job,” Geis said. “I don’t know of other counties, but our county has done a great job of being very transparent what we’re trying to get to what we’re trying to accomplish. Obviously we have to be careful. I mean there’s a lot more things to consider than just practicing but I think I feel good about it. I mean we’re all about in the same realm here.“

Geis said that he’s been impressed with the way the kids have handled all of the uncertainty. He told me he would give them an A-plus for the summer workouts. He said his attendance has been in the low to mid 90 percent and he said--most of the missing were kept home by parents out of a sense of safety. He’s hoping things change and they can join the team soon.


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