CHICO, Calif. -- The Pleasant Valley Vikings returned to the grind with new health and safety protocols as they try to make up for the lost time.
"We're almost a month behind," said Pleasant Valley Head Coach Mark Cooley. "We usually start right after June 6. This year, we wanted to start on June 8, but we hadn't been able to do that."
Now with new social distancing guidelines, and a bevy of altered workouts, the reigning section champs are finally back.
Ian Guanzon, now in his junior year, was excited to be back when the Vikings began summer workouts earlier this week. "It was great because, first of all, It's my favorite sport and I haven't seen my friends for so long and it's a good combination to see both of them at the same time. It's perfect," said Guanzon.
With the new mandatory health and safety protocols, Senior Sean Saise was happy to be on the field for what could be his final high school football season.
"It was highly anticipated like all of us were really looking forward to it," said Saise. "There's been a lot of restrictions that we don't want really to follow because it's been a while since we've seen everybody. It's different. It's weird, but we gotta get used to it and get through it."
Cooley, now entering his ninth season as the Vikings Head Coach, understands these new adjustments may be tough to grasp, but still necessary. "The kids haven't seen each other in three or four months. So on day one when they were showing up they wanted to high five each other and hug each other cause they haven't seen their buddies in a long time," said Cooley.
That's when the coaches stepped in, "...we were shouting at the top of our lungs, 'hey you still have to have your six feet, be in a group of ten, you're fine, so here we are day three. We're doing a much better job with it now for sure I think they're starting to figure it out too and it's a teaching process."
And for a sport like a football, time to prepare is everything.
Cooley says, "We want muscle mass to help reduce injuries and every little bit of time that we're not in that weight room building up muscle mass, then injuries are probably going to spike up. It's crucial that we're trying to get out here and get our stuff done in the four days we're out here in order to do that."
Cooley shared his appreciation for PV's administration and all other stakeholders that helped bring football back.
Yet, with the coronavirus pandemic still looming and still giving so much uncertainty, there's still a chance that fields like Asgard Yard might stay empty.
For Guanzon, "...it'd be heartbreaking for me and especially the class of 2021 for the seniors because this is supposed to be their last season."
Sentiments widely felt between the Vikings senior class. Saise said, "it's hard just knowing that we're holding on by a thin line right now, like we're walking on a line you don't know what could happen tomorrow. Things could just completely change for better or for worse."
He added, "It's just scary knowing that this could be it. My junior year could've been it, but we're all in high hopes right now just hoping that everyone gets through it, things get better, and we can just play the season out normally."