Some football teams working out, others waiting

Dover coach Rudy Simonetti, shown in a practice last pre-season, has had the Senators conditioning this week. File photo/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Rudy Simonetti feels pretty sure that high school football is going to be played.

It’s just a question of when.

And until there’s a definite answer to that question, the Dover High football coach is going to keep preparing his players for the next time they play a game.

Following the state health guidelines, the Senator football players began conditioning on Monday morning. A group of 43-50 players have been out there each day this week.

“I tell them just to stay patient,” said Simonetti. “I’m sure something’s going to bounce our way very, very soon in regards to a season. I’m sure there will be a season.

“It might be an abbreviated one but, at this point, something is better than nothing. I just tell the kids to stay positive — just focus on the goals for today and the big things will take care of themselves.”

While several football programs around the state have started workouts this month, others are taking a more conservative approach.

CR coach Dan Candeloro is not permitted to have his players working out on school grounds until the state goes to Phase 3. File photo

Both the Caesar Rodney and Smyrna school districts are waiting until the state goes to Phase 3 of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown before allowing their student-athletes back on school grounds for conditioning.

CR coach Dan Candeloro knows that it’s an extremely difficult time for anybody to make decisions about the best thing to do right now. He also knows that the most dedicated players are still working out on their own anyway.

The coaching staff can still post workouts and communicate with their players on-line.

“We try to meet once a week just to catch up and go over some playbook stuff,” said Candeloro. “We just see the kids and talk — more for the socialization. The kids have had a long time (off) and they’re bored so we’re trying to get them moving and give them something to do.”

“Keep working out the best you can and stay safe,” Smyrna coach Mike Judy told his players on Twitter.

Usually by this time of the summer, teams would have been playing in non-tackle, 7-on-7 leagues as well as conditioning. But even the squads that are working out now are fairly limited in what they can do.

Players have to wear masks when they’re not working out, stay in groups of less than 10 and practice social distancing. At Dover, the players go through three stations and are split up into two different sessions.

The players also have to sign waivers and do things like bringing their own water bottles.

“The kids have done a great job with really coming on time,” said Simonetti. “They’re working really, really hard. You can tell they’re anxious to get out and do stuff.

“At this point I’ll take anything,” said Senators coach Rudy Simonetti. “It doesn’t matter whether we play in the fall with an abbreviated schedule, if we play in the winter with an abbreviated schedule or if we’ve got to play in the spring.” File photo/Gary Emeigh

“I think everyone’s got a little pent-up energy to get out, so to speak. It’s just good to get out there with the team and start working toward our 2020 football season.”

In theory, the preseason for high school fall sports is only about a month away from starting. The first football scrimmages would begin shortly after that with the earliest season openers are on Sept. 4.

But with some high school state athletic associations — as well as college conferences — already calling off their fall seasons around the country, there’s no guarantees of anything at the moment.

One thing high school coaches are concerned about is their potential college players not having senior-season film to show recruiters.
“At this point I’ll take anything,” said Simonetti. “It doesn’t matter whether we play in the fall with an abbreviated schedule, if we play in the winter with an abbreviated schedule or if we’ve got to play in the spring.

“As long as we get a chance to get out on the field. I know, for the seniors, it’d be great for them to put on a football uniform one last time.”

“I say we’ll know as soon as the science tells us we can play or the district says we can play,” said Candeloro. “There’s still hope. … We’re staying positive.”