PRC football going to forge through tough times

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Normally in the month of March Pearl River Central’s Blue Devils football team would be getting work done.

The offseason serves as an ideal time for the athletes to work on their conditioning.

The workouts would then transition to spring practices where the pads would come back out and the physical aspect of the sport comes back into play.

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However, the Blue Devils’ athletes are currently stuck at home and unable to participate in organized team activities.

An executive order from Governor Tate Reeves closed all schools until April 17 with the Mississippi High School Activities Association following suit in suspending all athletic activities until that date.

These decisions were made due to the spread of COIVD-19. The suspension of athletics in the state of Mississippi came quickly and gave programs little time to prepare contingency plans for the lack of organized practices.

Head Coach Jacob Owen said the fast paced nature of the suspension left his program with little time to adapt.

“We knew we wouldn’t be in school for that first week, then over the weekend it turned into a month. There wasn’t really a whole lot of time to get a message (to the athletes),” Owen said.

Owen said the team’s mindset will remain the same despite the uncertainty surrounding the restart of athletic activities.

Next season Owen is expecting more success from his players on the field.

Off the field, in the current environment, is where Owen wants his players to step up.

“Right now for me it’s about discipline, service and leadership. Find a way to help your family out not because it’s a chore, but because that’s what families do for each other. If they do that now with their family it’ll carry over to the field,” Owen said.

How the suspension will affect the program still remains to be seen, but that’s not the case for some of the other sports at the school.

A variety of programs have had their seasons halted including softball, baseball and others.

Owen said those programs have it the roughest when it comes to the effects of the MHSAA’s decision to suspend athletic activities.

“Imagine being a senior baseball or softball player who (may not) get to finish the season. Right now they don’t know what they’re going to get. It could be a lot worse for football players,” Owen said.

The entire world has been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and athletes are a subset of individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by the virus.

However, Owen said even with the seriousness of the current situation, the world will pull through.  “Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” Owen said.