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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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Masked or not, high school football players continue to grind behind the scenes

High school football players prepare for their seasons with spring practice, but this year has presented players with a challenge:

They have not been able to see their teams, while still being required to stay in top-notch shape from March through May.

Robert Johnson, who has multiple scholarship offers, puts in the work. {Courtesy photo)

For local football players Kendall Guess, Robert Johnson and Cameron Miller, finding ways to stay on top of their game has been challenging due to COVID-19, yet rewarding at the same time.

With safety being a top priority, Miller and Johnson use protective masks and gloves while working out. Guess takes a different approach.

A running back and linebacker at Memphis Harding Academy, Guess uses his backyard as a workout spot. He has set up cones to complete drills to improve his agility and speed. The rising senior also flips tires and carries free weights to improve his strength.

For him, wearing protective gear does not seem to be a necessity because he’s in the confines of his backyard.

Kendall Guess flexing during a backyard-workout session. Courtesy photo)

“Everything I need is back there, and since the space where I complete my workouts isn’t accessible to people on the outside, I feel a mask isn’t purposeful,” Guess said.

Johnson and Miller attend Memphis Academy of Health and Sciences. Even though the high football season may not take place this fall, both players are training as if the season starts tomorrow.

A rising senior, Johnson, who plays wide receiver and cornerback, is eager for a return to normal. Meanwhile, he manages to maintain good workout skills while practicing social distancing.

“I do my best to keep my community safe so hopefully we can have team workouts and games again,” Johnson said.

Cameron Miller with Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who has asked Miller to come play for the Crimson Tide. (Photo: Twitter)

Miller’s story is similar to Johnson’s. The rising junior wide receiver and defensive back has been finding various workouts to stay in shape. He uses a protective mask as well.

Although ready to get back to practice and in the weight room, he knows safety is more important.

With a lot of factors contributing to the continued spread of the virus, Miller, Guess and Johnson all share the same desire – for people to stay safe during this time. They are hopeful about the future.

“By stepping back, I have been able to look at the positives of it, and getting better at football has been a big part of it all,” Guess said.

“My hard work will ultimately pay off down the line when the season starts.”

(Liaudwin Seaberry Jr., a journalism student at the University of Memphis, is an intern for The New Tri-State Defender.)

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