Jenks football begins summer workouts

Jenks football begins summer workouts

Jenks athletics opened Phase One Monday of its three-phase process to re-opening Trojan sports.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association voted May 22 to open athletics immediately forcing athletic directors and superintendents across the state to put together plans for their respective schools to get sports going again in Oklahoma.

Jenks Public Schools announced last week its plan to re-open athletics with a phased-in approach. The Trojan football program did not waste any time in getting back on the gridiron with the start of its Summer Pride workouts.

However, this year’s version of Summer Pride looks a little different than in years past.

Jenks head football coach Keith Riggs said COVID-19 took him and his staff by surprise in mid-March when the pandemic hit Oklahoma.

“Our kids left for spring break and we really didn’t imagine we weren’t going to get to see them a week later,” Riggs said. “We did have to scramble a little bit when all that went down. We had to make sure we had good contact with all our kids and make sure we kept in touch with them. It was a frantic first couple of weeks when school shut down. Our kids handled all of it much better than we did. The big thing early on was reaching out to our kids and making sure they were doing alright.”

Jenks football coaches wear masks as they give orders to players Friday during Summer Pride. Photos/Kyle Salomon

Riggs said he was a little surprised at the OSSAA vote that rejected the phased-in plan for all schools across the state.

“Our athletic director, Tony Dillingham, reached out to other athletic directors and superintendents and they met the next workday following the OSSAA vote and began discussions about what was best for all of our schools,” Riggs said. “While each school had the freedom to make their own decisions, most everybody’s plans going through the summer were very similar from both the Tulsa and Oklahoma City area schools. A lot of the plans that were put together was based on the proposal the OSSAA voted down. It didn’t take long to develop a plan and then it was just making sure we had the supplies we needed and the processes in place to take care of those restrictions.”

Riggs said the first week of Phase One went well and it was good seeing his players again.

“The kids have loved being back together,” Riggs said. “We have some extra steps as far as checking in and making sure everyone is healthy before they come in and limiting the number of people in our weight rooms, but those restrictions have been worth it to be able to get back together and get back to work.”

Typically, there are two groups in the Summer Pride workouts. There usually is a high school group and a middle school group. This year, there are four groups to help keep the numbers per group lower.

The players come in on the west side of the Sharp Fitness Center, get their temperatures taken and fill out a health checklist form with questions on if they have any of the symptoms related to the Coronavirus.

Jenks football players lift weights Friday during a Summer Pride work out.

The players then move to the stands at Allan Trimble Stadium and maintain social distancing before hitting the field to do their work out. Once they are done with their field work, the players move inside to the weight room to do the second part of their work out. There are two weight rooms being used this year to help keep the numbers in the weight rooms lower.

The Jenks Athletic Department and booster club came together to purchase masks for all the athletes and coaches while they are inside the buildings, so they will always get a shot of sanitizer and a mask when they enter the weight room.

Each weight room is cleaned and sanitized between each group.

“The kids don’t act like anything has changed,” Riggs said. “They have been really good about following our precautions and our restrictions. More than anything, they are just excited to be back together and to be moving forward with the football season.

Riggs added that the Jenks football players will go through several camps once Phase Two commences on June 22.

“We are going to have a couple of camps the week of June 22,” Riggs said. “We will have a skills camp and an offensive line, defensive line camp that week. We will then follow those up in July with a skills camp and every player will be there for that. All the camps will be no pads and no contact, and we will still take precautions. It will be good to get a helmet on and get back out there.”

Jenks football players have to wear masks most of the time when they are lifting weights inside during Summer Pride.

Kyle Salomon

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