This week the Fort Campbell High School football team is busy gearing up for their first full season since COVID-19.
The Falcons have 25 days of conditioning and training to get ready for their first game Aug. 27 and Head Coach Charles Poole believes they’ll be ready.
A new team
The group of 32 players is almost entirely new and is mostly made up of nineth-grade student athletes who are playing together for the first time.
While bringing so many new faces together and getting them game ready in 25 days may pose a challenge, Poole doesn’t think that this will hinder them from working together effectively to get ready in time for their first game.
“We’re focusing on the basic fundamentals of football and with that I think we’re going to be competitive,” he said.
Nickolas Guffey, a senior at Fort Campbell High School, said the team will be ready and he believes everyone is relieved to be able to play again.
“I just like coming back because it really brought us together,” Guffey said. “Last year when we lost the season, the school just felt down and had no school spirit and this year we’re planning on changing that.”
Although the football team is playing catch-up training-wise because of COVID-19 restrictions, the team will be ready come game day, Poole said.
“They’re a little nervous, we’re behind the curve a little bit because all the other county schools have been conditioning since January,” he said “But some of the student-athletes played spring sports and a lot of them have been working out on their own. I think some of them are hungry for a season, they’re wanting to learn, they’re wanting to get back out on the football field, they’re hungry for a win.”
Poole is confident they’ll be ready to compete come August, despite the time crunch.
“That’s my goal,” he said. “I have a short turnaround time to get them ready.”
More than a sport
Poole is happy the students at Fort Campbell High School can take to the field again for more reasons than one.
Aside from being able to share his love of football with the Falcons players, he said this is a way for them to reclaim a part of their lives and take a step toward normalcy.
It also is his personal belief that sports is an important part of a young person’s development as an adult and is a way for them to cope with stress and anxiety, Poole said.
“I think high school sports helps with development big time, and I think it helps with their psychological well-being too,” he said. “No matter what sport you’re in, it allows you to get a release in that you’re doing something aside from sitting in a classroom, and after class they have something to look forward to.”
Guffey is grateful to be back out and play as are the other players, he said adding that it is about more than the sport, it’s about the feeling of community.
“Honestly, it feels amazing because for a lot of guys this really hurt them because football, it’s a different type of sport, you know it really brings the team together,” he said.
While Poole said he understands this season will likely be unpredictable because it is the team’s first season back, he is still proud of his players and wants nothing more than for them to be successful – win or not.