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Rebels learn about themselves during Friday night’s jamboree

Although the Zion Chapel Rebels loss to Florala in a jamboree on Friday night, head coach Randy Bryant thought the game provided valuable insights about his team as they begin the 2020 season next Friday night.

The Rebels like other teams haven’t played a down of meaningful football since last fall. Friday night’s action gave the Rebels an opportunity to get back into playing shape.

“I always like to play in a jamboree just to knock the rust off,” Bryant said. “I thought that was especially important because our kids haven’t played a down of football since November.”

The Rebels took on a Florala team that has made the playoffs two consecutive seasons. They are a team that Bryant believes will make a strong run at the playoffs again this season.

“We made a lot of mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot,” Bryant said. “That is to be expected with such a long layoff. It was good for us to get back and like I said knock the rust off.”

Many teams either had an abbreviated spring practice or didn’t’ have one at all. Most coaches use the spring session as a time to get to know their new players, while the same time gauge where the team may be at in the fall. Without spring practice, Bryant, along with many other coaches are using the jamboree to learn about their team.

“You build your summer based on what you learned during the spring,” Bryant said. “We didn’t get that this year and we are still getting a read on our kids. Friday night was a light spring almost. It gave us a chance to see where we are at and what we need to work on. I was glad to get that.”

Without the quality reps throughout the summer spring and summer, the Rebels struggled on Friday night adjusting to live action.

“I wasn’t very pleased with how we adjusted to the game,” Bryant said. “I think some of that comes from the current situation. There are 1,000 things going through these players’ minds right now. It was just different, but this was a time to get a dry run and get everything figured out.”

The players not only had to adjust on the football field, they had to do it on the sideline as well. With the threat of COVID-19, players and coaches had to adjust to the new health regulations.

“I think we did fine,” Bryant said. “The kids are adjusting to wearing the mask and being six feet apart. They seem miniscule to some, but anything that is a change will affect something. We got acclimated to all of that. I think all of that is out of the way now starting this week.”

The Rebels officially open the season at home Friday night against Kinston.

“We got all the kinks ironed out and now it’s time to get down to business,” Bryant said. “This one counts and the importance goes up.”

Due to limited space at Greene Memorial Stadium in Jack, Zion Chapel has moved all their home games to Bates Memorial Stadium in Enterprise.