RICHMOND – COVID-19 has forced Richmond’s football program, like school sports programs at other high schools, to change the offseason training regimen.
2019’s the itinerary included 7-on-7 competitions at William Jewell College in Liberty and Chillicothe High School, along with team camp sessions and other activities. Not this summer.
“We had one 7-on-7, but we stopped doing that,” junior quarterback Keyshaun Elliott said.
Instead, the Spartans crammed teamoriented activities into three weeks of team camp, which concluded Thursday.
“A lot of it’s been no contact and kind of cerebral, and they’ve really had to learn without kind of a normal practice mentality,” coach Nick Persell said.
The Spartans also have put in mental reps this summer through “kind of some distance learning,” Persell said.
“In June, we weren’t (able to be) here for weights,” he said. “We still had some Zoom meetings online and kind of helped them kind of get ahead of that (learning curve). … We had a bunch of kids log on.”
The online effort prepped the Spartans for their on-field work, Persell said.
“We’ve … preached to our kids to learn – be good learners and be coachable kids – and I think they’ve done a good job,” he said.
Elliott and sophomore Jack Gogue have seen team growth. Elliott has noticed emotional changes in the Spartans when compared to last summer.
“We’re a lot more competitive,” he said.
The Spartans “have a lot more people knowing what they’re actually doing” than they did last summer, Elliott said. Some of that could be experience-related.
“Last year, we were playing with a lot of sophomores and … juniors,” Elliott said. “Now, we’re playing mostly upperclassmen.”
During the three weeks of camp, the Spartans have gotten their “brotherhood” back, Gogue said. But it “took about a week” for that to happen, he said.
“We’re good now,” Gogue said.
Life away from his gridiron brothers was “really boring,” Gogue said.
“(I) had nothing to do,” he recalled. “Had to stay home all day.”
With the team camp sessions completed, the Spartans will get some rest, as they enter a dead period for activities. They are slated to resume training Aug. 10, the first day of fall sports practices, as sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association.