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Several Miss-Lou football teams return to practice next week

NATCHEZ — While Adams County Christian School has already started their summer football practices, several other local schools are scheduled to begin next Monday.

That is if Tropical Storm Cristobal stays far enough away from the area to keep the heavy rain, gusty wind and possible severe weather from having too much of an impact.

Cathedral High School head coach Chuck Darbonne said the Green Wave may have to push its first day of practice from Monday to Tuesday.

“It it’s too bad, I’ll cancel it,” Darbonne said. “From what I’ve seen, Monday is not a great day. But the rest of the week looks decent.”

As for his plans for the practices this summer, Darbonne said he is focusing on getting the Green Wave re-acclimated to working together and focusing on individual drills.

Darbonne said the first day will focus on getting re-acclimated to lifting weights, conditioning, and sprinting.

“Trying to get faster. Depending on what groups we have. Two groups may be working on one thing and two groups may be working on another,” Darbonne said. “Obviously, we’re very cognizant of their health. Just them being in the heat and doing stuff they haven’t done the last couple of months since school’s been out.”

Darbonne said these things are important because Cathedral normally has a year-long program for several sports in terms of staying in shape with conditioning and lifting weights. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of the school for over two months, he said he doesn’t know what kind of shape his players are in.

“Not knowing which one has done something over the last couple of months,” Darbonne said. “It’s kind of like starting over. It’s like they’ve never lifted weights before.”

Darbonne noted that everyone is excited to be coming back to practice and with all the MAIS guidelines to follow, keeping the coaches and players safe is very important.

Natchez High School head coach Randy Craft pushed back the start of the Bulldogs’ summer practice from June 2 to June 9.

“We’ll practice three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We’ll work on individual skills and development,” Craft said. “Trying to keep the CDC guidelines through this acclimation period.”

Craft said the first day of practice will focus on making sure his players stay in shape.

“Working on their conditioning and their safety protocols,” Craft said. “Our kids come first. We want them healthy and safe.”

Vidalia High School head coach Michael Norris said his team will still start practice on Monday.

“We’ll go on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9:30 in the morning,” Norris said. “We have everything spread out in the weight room, so we can spread it out. We can have 25 in there, so we’ll see how it goes.”

As for what his plan for practices this summer is, Norris said the only difference is following these group guidelines.

“In June and July, we don’t do any contact anyway,” Norris said. “Hopefully (later) in July in Phase 3, we can do some 7-on-7. I think we’ll be okay in August and September when the flu season begins.”

Norris said the first day of summer practice will focus on getting to play football and having fun again.

“We’ve got some new coaches. I’m a new head coach. So things will be a little different. We’ll work on basic footwork and hip flexibility. Jumps and hops. Getting back to the basics,” Norris said. “We won’t do any lifting except maybe a dumbbell or two for the first two weeks. Give them something to do. Something to focus on.”

Ferriday High School head coach Stanley Smith said the tropical storm will have an effect on which day the Trojans will start their summer practice.

“It will be on Monday if the weather permits. But if not, it will be on Tuesday,” Smith said.

As for his plan for practices this summer, Smith said it’s going to be a little bit different.

“The guidelines from the LHSAA we have to follow,” Smith said. “With the restrictions we have because of the COVID-19, we can’t have any big groups. With less than 25 kids per group, we’re going to break our kids up into multiple groups. We’ll have a coach for each group. We’re still going to do the same things — running, lifting. But it won’t be as one team.”

Regardless of whether practice starts on Monday or Tuesday, Smith said the focus on the first day is making sure everyone is there.

“We’re going to give them a conditioning test. Make sure we get the process down with the restrictions because of the COVID-19,” Smith said.

Smith added the Trojans will have challenges but they are up for the challenge.

“We’re ready to get back to work and defend our (LHSAA Class 2A state) championship,” Smith said.