SCHSL moves into phase 1.5 of conditioning

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT
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JOHNSTON, SC (WRDW/WAGT) - The SCHSL began phase 1.5 of its return to conditioning plan Monday. The phase allows group sizes to increase from 10 to 16. It also allows the use of some pads and balls. This is the first step forward since voluntary workouts were allowed to begin on June 8th. On August 10th, the SCHSL Executive Committee will vote to allow practice to begin on August 17th, or push the season’s start date further back.

Voluntary workout and conditioning sessions have been important to programs and athletes, but there is still more that needs to be done before coaches and players can feel confident about where they stand.

Being in shape is a huge part of being ready for any season and the Strom Thurmond Rebels have been excellent about attending voluntary conditioning according to head coach Antwaun Hillary. Conditioning doesn’t allow a quarterback to build chemistry with receivers, nor gauge how well a lineman can block. Under the phase 1.5 guidelines, teams can begin using balls, but there’s still more that needs to be done leading into practice.

“The opportunity to use a football makes it more realistic. Like I’ve been telling our kids all summer -- I’m not going to say it’s easy but a lot of kids can come out and do a speed lateral or jump over a bag or anything like that, but that’s still not playing football,” said Hillary. “Until we can use a football and put pads on and make it more like the real game of football, I think everyone’s trying to be as optimistic as possible, but at the same time, we football coaches know what it takes to win. We gotta figure out who’s going to hit somebody and who can throw and catch.”

Competition across the SCHSL will also look different this season. Teams begin playing for the playoffs in their first games with region play taking place right away. In a normal season, non-region games can give teams a chance to play a few games that don't count toward the post-season race. This year, those games aren't played until the end of the regular season as the league wanted teams to get their regions taken care of first in the event of a stoppage. Teams that start hot will have the advantage.

"We don't do mottos here, but we have been saying one thing and that's 'win now.' We've got to win right now. And as rusty as we were today, we've got to block that out and move on to the next day and make sure we get better everyday," said Hillary. "It's about winning now. And that's what playing that region schedule first does. They're taking the top 2 teams from each region, so you've got to be on your A-game on day one."

The Rebels open their season on September 11th at home against Swansea.

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