Football teams around the mountains return to the field

The fall sports season is still in the balance, but a number of schools around the Commonwealth took the first step back on Monday.
Updated: Jun. 15, 2020 at 7:21 PM EDT
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With the future of a football season in question, the Somerset Briar Jumpers were worried.

"I was really nervous I didn’t know if we were going to have football or not. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be with these guys so it was a relief to be able to be here today and yesterday,” said Quarterback Kaiya Sheron.

Due to COVID-19, practice looks different than it normally would with players practicing in groups of nine players to one coach ratio.

“You know it’s been a little difficult to practice like we usually do. The biggest thing is we’re practicing. I’m going to take any positive thing we can to spend time with our kids. Hopefully, this continues and it opens up even more,” added Head Coach, Robbie Lucas.

Regardless of the extra safety precautions, coaches and players alike are just excited to be back on the field together.

“It was just like a weight taken off your shoulders pretty much because you know you’re going to be able to play your senior year and not have to sit out,” said Center, Drew Johnson.

“The coaches were happy to get everybody in here without many restrictions and they can get everybody in and do all the things they need to do to get ready for the season,” added Wide Receiver, Kade Grundy.

The Briar Jumpers are looking to make it back to Kroger Field.

“Not to rely on what we did last year. I don’t want anybody to be happy with what happened. That’s last year it’s already over it was 2019 we are five or six months into 2020 right now so it’s a new season it’s time to go back to work,” added Lucas.

“We got to stay focused we can’t look back on last year we got this year to look forward to we can’t look in the rearview mirror,” added Sheron.

If Somerset’s season starts on time, their first game will be at home against Montgomery County on August 28th.

Original Story:

The fall sports season is still in the balance, but a number of schools around the Commonwealth took the first step back on Monday.

There are a number of teams around the mountains looking to make it back to Kroger Field. The Paintsville Tigers and the Johnson Central Golden Eagles competed for a state title last year, but this year they are just happy to be on a field.

“Very exciting cause we’ve had three months of sitting at home, trying to work out the best we can, using any machines at our disposal. I can run at lakes, but now it feels a lot better to get back in the weight room, back on the field and actually get in the work we need to get in,” said Johnson Central Senior, Zach Russell.

“It’s great. With the virus and stuff, it’s been real hard to practice and we’ve been missing our teammates and it’s just great to be back together and be able to work as a team,” added Paintsville Senior, Nate Marsillett.

In the Cumberland Valley region, two teams are just as excited about getting back to work.

However, the excitement did not defer Bell County and Corbin from following the guidelines set by Governor Beshear. With the nine players to one coach ratio, schools had to get creative, with Bell County practicing in their choir room, and Corbin using the football field.

Although there are extra safety precautions in place, both coaches said Monday felt like Christmas morning.

“Well we’re all tickled to death I don’t think there’s not a football player in the state of Kentucky that wouldn’t be glad to be in the weight room this morning or be out on the field just running,” said Dudley Hilton, Bell County Head Coach.

“Myself and all the coaches like I said we’re like little kids waiting to open them Christmas gifts you know. So we’re all excited and all the kids were too this morning. Super excited to get started,” added Tom Greer, Corbin Head Coach.

In the 14th Region, Leslie County took to the field in three groups of two, spacing out.

“You got to do what’s required to make sure that we have the opportunity to continue,” said Head Coach, Eddie Melton.

The team that has been together since the Seniors were in third grade went without working out together for nearly three months.

“I’m just so happy to get back to seeing my teammates to get in the work in and getting ready to get back on the field,” said Senior Running Back Trent Asher.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been together. We’ve been talking over a group text. We’ve been trying to plan,” said Senior Quarterback, Zach Parker.

“It’s like spending three months away from your own family you know. They come back and see them it’s exciting,” said Senior Fullback, Preston Spurlock.

Like many teams in the mountains, just because Monday was the first day back doesn’t mean it is the first day of work.

“Homework outs. We would get on group message on Facebook or something and make sure each other was working out and just hold each other accountable,” said Spurlock.

No official date has been set for when the season will begin.

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