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Pratt football players get ready for fall season

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School football players participate in summer training camp in preparation for the 2020 fall season.

Many middle and high school students have been anxiously awaiting the announcements of not just the reopening of schools, but also what sports will look like this fall. For many, sports are what motivate them to go to school, so the recent KSHSAA announcement to allow fall sports to begin as scheduled affected many students and families in Kansas. 

“Students who participate in school activities learn life skills and lessons in an environment that cannot be duplicated,” KSHSAA wrote on their website. “The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in thousands of Kansas students missing out on these life-shaping educational experiences over the past several months.”

For Pratt High School football coach Brent Hoelting and for the Pratt High football players, the announcement was very exciting. 

“I was happy for our kids. They’ve worked really hard all summer,” Hoelting said. “I was really excited the kids would get the opportunity to start the season as scheduled.”

Coach Hoelting didn’t know what to expect for this season, and still knows there can be changes. 

“Obviously it’s a controversial issue. I’m just happy that for us we can have some sense of normalcy for our kids,” Hoelting said. “I think I’d be naïve not to expect any changes to happen. We face them with a positive attitude. We do the best we can with the information we’re presented in the circumstances we’re given.”

The players were excited to know they would get to play this season, especially the rising seniors. 

“They’re very excited. Very excited to get back to some sense of normal for them, they know it’s going to be different, but the fact that they’re getting to play football, especially for the seniors, it means a lot,” Hoelting said. 

There will be many changes to standard procedures this year, such as social distancing as much as possible, masking up between plays, traveling with fewer players, spending less time in the locker room, and maybe even how many fans can watch. Details on how many fans will be able to attend Friday night games is still being decided. 

“It could look very different in terms of Friday night experience,” Hoelting said.

The team began their summer training on June 8th with weights training, individual practices, speed work, and seven-on-seven ball, and ended on Aug. 6. Regular practices will begin on Aug. 17, with school starting on Aug. 26.