No Friday Night Lights: Players remain benched as pandemic continues

Local News

ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) — Friday nights just aren’t the same without high school football.

This Friday would have been the second week of the season, but the pandemic has pushed it back until 2021.

At Rocklin High School, players are up before the sun getting in their conditioning and strength training before heading off to distance learning.

“It’s our opportunity to do something. Once the school day starts we’re not allowed to be on campus. So our district has given us the opportunity to train and use some of our facilities and we’re taking advantage of that,” explained Rocklin football coach Jason Adams.

“It gives us more time to get bigger, faster and stronger. Hit the weights, hit the field,” senior Daniel Bracone said. “More time. We’re going to be a lot bigger this year.”

Placer County and the Rocklin Unified School District allow RHS Thunder to practice three days a week.

The team would have played Capital Christian Friday evening.

“I remind our guys what we’d be doing. But at the same time, today’s challenge is to get better out here in the weight room, and enjoy the process,” Adams said.

Schools in Sacramento County are not allowed to work out at all.

“Missed opportunities. We’re at a disadvantage right now,” explained Antelope High School football coach Reggie Harris. “We are handcuffed with working with our student-athletes.”

Harris is in his first year as head coach of the AHS Titans.

He is frustrated that his field is silent and the stands empty. It’s another Friday night without a football game.

“I really feel kids should make a stand. You know, if we wear our masks. Let us wear our helmets. Hashtag, ‘safe to play,’” Harris said. “[I’m] just totally upset with the fact that I’m sitting in the empty stands with no fans. No means of building relationships, and no means of showcasing the community.

But the coaches aren’t ready to throw in the towel.

“Adversity creates motivation. And through motivation, I’m inspired to come up with creative ways to keep our youth active,” Harris explained.

“We’ll be fine,” Adams said. “It’s just going to be December instead of August for a start date.”

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