Bobcats preparing for season, making sure to follow guidelines

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

By Scott Loftis

It’s been a strange few months for Arkansas high school athletes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of spring sports.

It’s still unclear how the upcoming football season will be affected, but the Berryville Bobcats are preparing as best they can while still being mindful of guidelines issued by the Arkansas Department of Health.

“We’re trying to make the best of it,” Berryville coach Doug Shott said Friday, July 10. “We’re hamstrung right now.”

Players are required to maintain at least six feet of social distance, which makes working on alignments impossible, let alone actually running plays. Shott said the Bobcats are focusing on conditioning work like weightlifting and speed training.

One area that is of special concern to Shott is the fact that players haven’t been able to practice in helmets.

“They’ve gone a long time without wearing a helmet,” Shott said. “I’m worried about their necks. We do isometrics to try to build some neck strength. We know that neck strength is important to help prevent concussions.”

Shott, who’s entering his fourth season at Berryville, said he’s not sure how Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recent decision to delay the start of school until at least Aug. 24 will affect the Bobcats. Berryville is scheduled to start the 2020 season at home against Cedarville on Aug. 28.

Shott said he’s not sure if the Bobcats will be able to participate in any preseason scrimmages.

“That’s all in limbo right now,” he said.

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