Warrior football is back

The Palm Beach County School District returned to brick-and-mortar learning on Sept. 21, the same day Jupiter High’s football players officially began preparing for the 2020 season. Although their season will be unconventional, the players are excited to get back on the field, especially following the successful 2019 season.

Jupiter High players have less time before their first football game on Oct. 30 to prepare, but they’ve taken steps to stay in shape, despite not being able to meet as a team because of COVID-19.

“[COVID-19] has given me the opportunity to get better as a football player because I have had a lot more free time to practice. It is obviously unfortunate that I will not be getting to experience a normal season, but the team is trying to make the best of it,” Cristian Orth, senior defensive end, said.

Traditional practices were not held during the summer, but players worked hard on their own or in small groups to enhance their football skills. When students were allowed to return to in-person learning, players were eager to return to their home turf and practice as an entire team.

“COVID-19 has increased my want to return to the field. It stopped all practices from the school, and those practices I truly enjoy. I am careful in what I do on a daily basis to reduce exposure,” Aiden Alexander, senior middle linebacker, said.

Senior wingback Dustin Kerrigan agreed. He said he and his fellow football players have been careful to avoid possible exposure to coronavirus both in and out of school.

“My advice to the rest of the team would be to avoid [large gatherings] and to make good decisions on the weekends,” Kerrigan said.

Senior football players, who are anxious to play football their last year of high school, are working closely with their teammates to get everyone back in the game quickly and safely. 

“It’s important for [seniors] to work as hard as possible for this short season, to give them a better chance of getting recruited. And mainly just enjoy their last year of high school football,” Greyson Higgins, junior linebacker, said. 

With new restrictions in place, like limiting the number of fans allowed at football games, things will definitely look different this season. Each player is limited to two game tickets per game.

“I think the limited seating for both schools definitely evens the playing field,” Timothy Tharp, JHS head football coach, said. “I know we played 2-3 games last year where our Home side was standing room only. I also hate it for the fans as well, not being able to attend games. Hopefully, we can mentally block that out each week and focus on playing to the best of our abilities, regardless of how many people are in the stadium.”