The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many athletes and coaches to learn patience. For many programs, that patience was rewarded with a return to the practice field in June.
For others, the wait was much longer.
Fort Bend ISD’s 11 high schools stretched across one of the largest hot spots for the coronavirus, prompting the district to halt extracurricular activities until Sept. 7.
The high school group included the reigning District 20-6A champion Travis Tigers.
Head coach Trey Sissom has spent the summer connecting with his athletes over video conference, but the team couldn’t have sports-specific instruction until Monday.
“I’m excited,” Sissom said. “You always have that little extra ‘oomph’ when you start the season.
“Today is a little more special; it’s been since March 12 since we’ve been out here and got after it.
“We got a taste in the summer, but it’s great to be back with kids and the coaches.
“Everyone talks about getting back to normal, well we’re back to normal. We’ve got some football, so it’s been good.”
FBISD announced last Wednesday that it would allow the resumption of extracurricular activities on the first day of official practices for Class 6A and 5A football and volleyball programs.
The district will continue to have online-only instruction for the next four weeks. Still, FBISD will allow athletes to continue participating in extracurricular activities if they choose online-only instruction after those eight weeks allowed by the Texas Education Agency.
For Travis, the time on the field is much needed. Coach Sissom’s traditional plan for the offseason includes a spring game and 7-on-7 football.
The Tigers had neither before the start of the 2020 season against Foster in Week 2.
“Now it’s about finding some consistency with the kids that are here,” Sissom said. “We’ve got a lot of kids back on the defensive side. They have a lot of experience, and we’re going to lean on them early.
“Offensively, we think we’re going to be pretty good upfront.
“We just have to find the skill kids to match that.”
Travis will follow the UIL plan for schools that did not offer strength and conditioning since Aug. 24.
The Tigers will have strength and conditioning and sports-specific activities through Sept. 14.
On Sept. 14, teams will be allowed to start the acclimatization period, where the team will transition to wearing helmet and pads during workouts over a week.
Teams will be allowed to hold one scrimmage; so the Tigers will be scrimmaging Fort Bend Marshall.
After all that, Travis will have its first week of play against Foster on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Mercer Stadium.
That game will be important to prepare the Tigers for an early start for District 20-6A play.
Travis will have two bye weeks before facing former Tigers offensive coordinator Mike Arogbonlo and the Austin Bulldogs.