Ed Johnson, the head coach of the Newberry High School football team, says he and the team are blessed.
With close to 80 players in the program, Johnson said, “We’re excited, we’re growing and the kids are working hard.”
Most evenings you can hear the team practicing at the track, running drills and honing skills.
“We were worried we wouldn’t get back out here,” Johnson said. “It’s a blessing that we are.”
Johnson is a Newberry native and NHS graduate who was a wide receiver and defensive back for the Panthers. He took over as head coach last year and is ready for this season to begin.
Newberry takes on the Hawthorne Hornets on Friday, Sept. 4th at 7:30 p.m. in Hawthorne. The game will be broadcast on I Am Country 106.9 FM.
“The new season posts some challenges which started this summer,” Johnson said.
“Normally we did all weight rooms,” he said about preseason conditioning. “But they were only allowed nine players at a time in the space. So Johnson set up rotating drills. There were five at the track, five running the stadium, field agility, weightroom,” he said.
The new protocol of wiping down weight room equipment and the footballs took effect and he said remaining socially distant is difficult.
Players and sideline crew will be wearing masks, Johnson said. Seating in the stands will be limited and socially distanced.
“It’s all new to us,” said Johnson.
With 45 kids on varsity and 30 on JV, Johnson said they will be ready for competition.
The first home game for Newberry will be on Sept. 11, and Johnson said it will be an exciting night.
“The game is against longtime rival Trenton,” he said, and added that it will be the first home game since the pandemic shut schools down in March.
“The Newberry High senior night will also be held at that first home game, just in case”, he said. “We’re doing it early just in case we don’t make it through the season,” Johnson said about possible shutdowns.