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Rebels adjust well to new policies, excited for 2020 season

The Zion Chapel Rebels are working out in groups of 12 early this summer in hopes of preparing for the time they can get on the field for the upcoming season.

The Rebels, like every other team in the state, are limited to what they can do this summer. The Rebels began the summer working out in the gym, while also working on their conditioning and their agility.

“They are in the weight room, working on conditioning, and speed and agility,” Rebels head coach Randy Bryant said. “It’s been good so far. It’s a new deal, but the kids and coaches have done well with it. I have been pleased with it, but ready for it to get back to normal.”

The players this summer have had to adhere to safety measures handed down by the state. The Measures include social distancing, cleansing of the equipment and wearing masks. To this point, the Rebel players have adjusted well to their new way of practicing.

“They have responded well,” Bryant said. “We check their temperature before getting out of the car. They have to wash their hands, wear masks and social distance themselves. Sometimes we have to remind them of those things just because it is new.”

The Rebels have invited just the high school players thus far this summer, but the hope is to invite some of the younger players including those that are in middle school.

The Rebels entered the offseason coming off their first postseason berth since 2011. They finished the season 6-5, giving them their first winning season since 2011. Although the team has  not been all together yet this summer, Bryant senses excitement stemming from their run to the postseason last year.

“From what I can tell from the kids there is definitely some excitement,” Bryant said. “The kids are excited to get things going and play the game. I think that is because of the success we have had recently. I think they are looking forward to it. It’s been different because everyone is wearing a mask and there have been only 12 people around. We haven’t had our full team together yet. I think the kids are very anxious to get things going. “

Before the threat of COVID-19, Bryant and the rest of the coaching staff picked a few players they would like to see become leaders. Those players will now be looked at to help lead the team in uncertain times.

“Back before all this happened we picked some kids that we were going to lean on for leadership,” Bryant said. “We started a book study with them. Those are the guys we are going to lean on. We are obviously going to lean on the senior class, but we picked kids that are just seniors. We want to build for the future.”

There was a sense of optimism last week when State Superintendent Eric Mackey expressed optimism about the upcoming season. With less then two months to go before the start of the season, Bryant still has questions about what the season could look like.

“We get some information, but it’s about as clear as mud,” Bryant said. “Tennessee is going to push their season back. I know Mississippi has talked about moving the season. Obviously know one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, but we are tuned in trying to find out and see what is going to happen.”