CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- On Wednesday, Carbondale High School's football team took the field for the first time as a team. It was just conditioning workouts but after having their temperatures taken, and with players and coaches alike taking proper safety measures such as wearing masks during the workout, the Terriers were just thrilled to be back on the field.
"Man we've been waiting for this moment and didn't know if we were going to get this moment for a long time, Carbondale Football Coach Bryan Lee said. "When something you love is only theoretical , that's a really tough thing. It's like having a pen pal. You think there's somebody on the other end but you're not sure of it, that it's ever going to get returned."
"I think I learned it's hard to run with a mask on," Carbondale senior right tackle Jackson Grant said. "It's a little hard to breath but we're getting through it.
"As long as we can get out here, be here as a team and have some type of football, it's better than anything," Carbondale senior quarterback Darius Ragland said.
"With all the restrictions and the worry and the temperature checks and all those things, it is still a realization of a team of kids I love and who really love each other, get to come out and do what they want to do and it may not look like it usually looks but day one is good because day one exists," Coach Lee said.
The Terriers don't know what future workouts will look like but are learning to adapt.
"You have to spend inordinate amount of time coming up with plans knowing that ninety percent of these will end up in the trash and even as we get the guidelines for phase one we were able to say we thought about this and that's how we're going to do that, thought about this and you find the variables you don't know and find out where they fit in. We don't know for sure what the next phase is going to look like but we have plans for it and some of them may be scrapped and some of them may not but we just want to keep football going," Lee said.
Due to IHSA rules, there can't be any footballs on the field so Carbondale decided to implement conditioning workouts that were relative to their sport.
"What we wanted to do is give our kids a real sense of their position so our conditioning for our wide receivers is we run routes and conditioning for our linemen is they take their first steps and then they sprint," Coach Lee said.
"Yeah, I think it's very important to get specific training, getting out there feeling blocks, feeling the footwork," Grant said. " I think it's very helpful instead of sprinting."
"We made pods that are position specific so we have to find which nine kids do we think will be receivers and put them in a pod and so we didn't want to just come out and run sprints and do those things," Coach Lee added. "They are valuable but we wanted our kids to come out here and realize this is football and need to take these first steps before I do anything."
The Terriers love being back on the field but safety is a priority.
"We try very hard to have perspective and one of the perspectives is, I have in-laws that are eighty-plus years old that I see every other day and it's easy to skirt around some rules and say hey our kids don't need to wear masks, or we don't need to line up or what if we don't get temperature checks but we have parents, we have grandparents and we have people in our lives that are compromised and if we cut those corners then there's no game. I love football. I mean I love football but there's no reason I'll put my in-laws at risk. We have a coach who has a special needs kid at home. If we don't do what we're supposed to do, we put him at risk and high school sports isn't worth that and we try to keep that in perspective. Before we came out as a staff, we talked about everybody throw out a name of somebody you want to make sure we protect today, to make sure they are safe so we do the right thing and it's easy to cut corners but we don't want to do that. We want to keep our people as safe as possible."