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(Not) playing it day-by-day

With covid numbers rising, decisions to play to be made on a week-by-week basis





Preparing for the unknown / November 25, 2020

While the decision on having a sports season at HCHS this year rests with the Halifax County School Board, the preparation of student-athletes to compete must continue — in one form or another.

When new varsity football coach Robert Senseney took over the reins of the program back in October, he was fully aware of the many challenges he would face — COVID-19 and being the newbie on the block with players he’d never really met before, just to name a couple.

During the October press conference announcing his appointment, the VHSL state championship winning coach said he was preparing for any situation. Senseney said his conditioning plan was flexible and would meet players’ needs no matter when the team was able to return to the playing field.

The Halifax County School Board recently canceled all on-campus conditioning sessions after experiencing a rise in infections and deaths related to the coronavirus at the county and state level. This decision will be visited again when the board meets to discuss returning students to campus with a projected date of Dec. 7.

Senseney said though the team wasn’t able to get in a workout before the shutdown, he has been able to contact some players.

“We’ve had contact with players,” Senseney said. “We had a ZOOM meeting and we will progress with ZOOM meetings after Thanksgiving.

“Just really start introducing the kids to some of the concepts we are going to use and just try to get them as mentally prepared as you can get them; so you can kind of hit the ground running, whenever that may be.”

Senseney said he couldn’t really answer when the team even hoped to get back to activities. He noted topics such as students returning to campus, the dead period for winter sports and numerous other considerations that will need to be addressed.

Senseney said those steps in and of themselves won’t be the total answer but, “We’ve got some things checked off and hopefully gone over so we don’t have to spend that time doing that.”

Senseney said that the team didn’t have the opportunity to get in a workout due to his continuing transition to the area. The family is currently in progress of getting settled in the county

The first day that the football team would have held workouts was the same day Halifax County Schools Superintendent Mark Lineburg announced the stoppage.

“The conditioning program that we have designed going in is really to try and get us moving again,” said Senseney. “To address some ability issues in the body ... We’ll enter a strength phase going into the season and we’ll lift during the season. So that’s always been the way I’ve handled it.

Senseney said he feels fortunate to have been hired as the Comets coach. In today’s sports environment becoming a successful coach even at the high school level is a challenge.

“Becoming a successful high school coach isn’t easy, at any level. If you’re not on you’re A-Game, kids will find a coach that is on his A-Game.,” Senseney said.

He made the point with student-athletes’ exposure to social media, seeing the different football programs in competing counties, and across the state and country, gives kids a different outlook on sports that in past times. Senseney said high school football has always been big but especially now with even ESPN covering scholastic games.

As for his Comets, “Why not set the goal to be on ESPN. Why not set the goal to be the best in the state,” Senseney offered.

“We’re excited to meet the kids; we’re excited to start practicing whenever we can. We’re excited to start building our tradition and laying down our foundation,” Senseney said.

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