By Shawn Chitnis

STRASBURG, Colo. (CBS4) – The Strasburg High School football team returned to the field Friday for a second day of practice preparing for a shortened fall season under new CHSAA guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic. As a program declaring for season “A” they are quickly realizing the work required to get ready for their first game.

(credit: CBS)

“We’ve missed so much, you take so much for granted,” said Strasburg head coach Brian Brown on Friday. “I kind of feel like a fish out of water, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do here.”

Practice began this year the same week teams would already be a few games into their regular season. While the coach can notice the difference in his players without the usual training that starts in the summer, he appreciates the progress players are making in their first two days.

“We’re just trying to get our offenses and our defenses installed, make sure we got our special teams in, and just getting the kids prepared to play a football game,” Brown told CBS4. “It has to be conditioning, that’s the biggest thing, you can tell that from the first day of practice.”

COVID-19 restrictions from CHSAA limit the number of players on the roster and prohibit players from sharing water. When they are not in a drill, they have to wear a face covering and students as well as coaches try to keep as much distance as possible from each other.

(credit: CBS)

“We always talk about team before me,” the coach said. “In this day in age, we’re a team and we got to focus on this team.”

The spirit of this sport and the culture of football require close contact and interaction in large groups. While Brown has to remind his players constantly about their new reality, the concept also reinforces the fundamentals of good sportsmanship.

“We don’t want one player to go out and do something that’s going to affect the whole team,” he said. “Don’t be selfish, let’s think about each other.”

While they aren’t ready to prepare for specific opponents yet, they know that first game is just around the corner. Teams will meet the first full week of October and players need nine practices to qualify. So Brown will ask his players to come back on Saturday to help them become eligible in time. Even before then, he is already seeing the impact of having football back in the lives of these students and the community.

(credit: CBS)

“It just felt like everyone was kind of walking around with a blur in their eyes and I think that’s happening everywhere,” Brown said of the team when football was not scheduled for the fall. “Just to see the excitement in their eyes, knowing this is going on, it’s huge.”

Shawn Chitnis

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