High School football prep varies around Atlanta

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was a normal July practice for the Dacula Falcons.

Although coach Clint Jenkins would be quick to remind you that he still can only have less than half of his team on the field at the same time and each player went through a COVID questionnaire and temperature screening when they showed up.

“We’re excited to be back and we’ll take it however we can get it,” said Jenkins.

A half hour away at Tucker High School things look a lot different.

DeKalb County Schools has limited their teams to ‘Phase One’ protocols from the Georgia High School Association. A maximum of 20 players and coaches together at one time. Social distancing and masks.

“What we’re doing now is great. We have social distancing measures in place for us to work our kids,” said Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar.

While he feels comfortable with his current situation, Lamar says when it comes to the big picture. He doesn’t think the season should start in six weeks.

“I really don’t think we should be playing right now. I love football. We have a really good football team. We’ve got a chance to win a state championship and I’m excited about that, but I’m at a point where it’s either safe for the kids to play or it’s not. And if it’s safe for the kids to play, it should be safe for the kids to go to school. And if we can’t go to school, we shouldn’t be playing football,” said Lamar.

Meanwhile over at Dacula, Jenkins says that he feels fortunate that his team is getting to have this type of prep for the season and thinks it would be hard if his team was facing the same restrictions as Tucker.

“It’d be real hard to think about playing in a month if you’re still there. Unfortunately you’ve got to bring people together to do this,” said Jenkins.

That coming together is the reason that Lamar doesn’t think the state is ready for a full-on football season.

“It’s not about not seeing kids and not working out, it’s about trying to do it in a safe way. It’s not safe for us to go out here and jump on each other and tackle. It’s not safe for us to travel on busses together for games. It’s not safe for us to be in locker rooms right now. With all of that being said, you’ve got to do what’s right for the kids. If there’s a solution that’s safe, I’m all for it,” said Lamar.

Lamar has put together a proposal for a spring football season and sent it up his chain of command.

The Falcons, like Tucker, say that they have had no COVID-19 cases so far this summer and also like Tucker, Clint Jenkins’ bunch has state title aspirations.

So while he hammers home the safety message to his players too, once they hit the practice field, it’s about working.

“You want people to be safe and we want to keep our kids safe obviously, but when you get between the lines, it’s a little bit of a different world,” said Jenkins.

Although they are at different points in their preparations right now, both Tucker and Dacula have games scheduled for Thursday September 3rd at Dacula’s new turf field in the Corky Kell Classic.