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Many happy returns: Jaguars happy to get back on field

Bill Althaus
Second-year Blue Springs South football head coach Matt Klein speaks with his socially distanced players following a workout. Klein said he is enjoying the early-morning conditioning sessions with his team and is looking forward to next week's first day of football practice.

The weather was a brisk 66 degrees as members of the Blue Springs South High School football team walked onto the turf at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium early Tuesday morning for their daily conditioning session.

“This just feels so good – the weather and getting back with all my teammates,” senior offensive and defensive lineman Ben Bryan said. “You get out here with everyone and you get that team feeling, which is something we haven’t had the last three months.

“There’s nothing like getting together with the guys, even if we can’t high-five and have to stay six feet apart. It’s better than doing everything at home over social media.”

Senior linebacker Cole Wagner agreed.

“This is awesome,” Wagner said, “seeing the guys, getting back with the coaches, feeling like a football player again. No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so we’re soaking all this in and enjoying it.”

That seemed to be the theme as second-year head coach Matt Klein praised his players for their enthusiasm and work ethic.

“They’re out there having a good time, while they’re working hard,” Klein said. “We have to remind them every now and then to stay apart, and there are no high-fives, but that might be the new normal, who knows?

“We all just feel good with the great weather, the way the guys are getting after it and just getting back on a football field. There were a few days over the past three months where we were wondering if that was going to happen.”

When the first all-football player session ended, a group of all freshmen football players began walking onto the field.

“We start with the football guys – on this field and the lower field – then we work with the freshmen, and then we have guys and girls from different sports in the third session,” Klein said.

“It works great because you’re not working with too many players and you can get in a lot of great conditioning. And you can tell the kids are still so excited about being out here and seeing each other.”

And Klein said a second year as head coach has its benefits.

“I know most of the players, except the new freshmen, and the guys know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them,” Klein said. “And that allows us to get in a lot more work, especially next week when we start football practice.

“No one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or in the fall, so we’re all enjoying our time now and we’re working hard, having some fun and getting in some great conditioning.”