The return of Jasper football players and their coaches to the field in preparation for the 2020 season has been met with plenty of smiles and camaraderie amidst the effort to getting back into top performance shape.
After being absent from each other for three months, missing spring football and other athletic competition, the players and coaches can’t help but enjoy the time that in past years they might have taken for granted.
“It’s amazing to be back out with each other again — you don’t know how much you miss it and each other until it’s taken away from you,” senior Connor Whitley said. “It’s a blessing for each and every one of us. I truly didn’t think we’d be back this early, but we’re all extremely happy that we are.”
Fellow senior Andre Neal said although missing spring football and the extra benefits the time on the field brings, being back with his teammates and getting ready for a new season has brought a sense of normalcy to a year of constant change.
“Even without a spring, there’s so much we can still work towards before the beginning of the season and everyone is eager to work hard for it,” Neal said. “Everybody’s happy to be back as a team, you can see that every day we’re out here.”
Jasper head coach Philip Bailey expressed his joy on having the players around him and his staff once again and the thankfulness for the opportunity to coach his young men again.
“Eleven weeks being away from the guys was tough on each and every one of us as a staff, but there isn’t one of us that isn’t grateful to be back,” Bailey said. “And the kids are so happy to be back out here. I’m so happy to be back out here, just being around them. It looks different with the new mandates we have to adhere to, but just to be able to coach these guys once again is a real blessing.”
Jasper is scheduled to open the season at home against Mars Hill on August 21.