Killeen High School Kangaroo athletes have been participating in strength camps since June 8 in preparation for the upcoming fall season, but this year’s camps have been different due to the pandemic.

“It’s been exciting to be able to get out, to get to see the kids again … to be able to get back to a little bit of normalcy with football and everything starting, so it’s been great,” Killeen head coach Neil Searcy said about being able to hold workouts.

Obviously, with a contact sport like football, social distancing isn’t normal, but the Roos have made a conscious effort to remain socially distant by splitting the players into groups, rotating them between different drill stations and making sure equipment is sanitized. The biggest challenge, according to Searcy, was keeping the players apart.

“These guys haven’t seen each other in two and a half months, so they all want to get together, they all want to high-five each other. That’s probably been the hardest part is trying to keep them apart. Especially when they get together and they want to talk to one another and they want to do what they do, they all want to get close to one another,” Searcy explained. “We’re happy we’re out practicing right now, but our goal is to be playing football in the fall, so we don’t want to do anything right now to jeopardize that. They do a good job and they police themselves.”

Lucas Bochat, a junior tight end, and Andrew Morales, a senior defensive lineman, were excited to reunite with their teammates and get back to work.

“We’ve all been sitting on our butts,” Bochat said.

COVID-19 has thrown many things off their normal schedule and football was no exception, but Bochat and Morales feel that it hasn’t affected their ability to play the game.

“I feel like at first we thought it would, but now that we’re here, it doesn’t really feel that different. It feels like we’re still just putting in work, still getting ready for the season,” Morales said.

Bochat agreed adding, “There’s a lot of structure here. I don’t think we’re going to struggle with it. I think we’re going to compete at the exact same level, if not better.”

During the pandemic, Bochat and Morales have both learned to value the time that they’re given.

“It’s made me appreciate time more. Because with everything going on and seeing the cases and stuff, it kind of worries me that I won’t be able to play senior year ball. I also didn’t get to play my spring football season,” Morales said.

“It definitely shows you that you’ve got to put your work in every single day,” Bochat said. “You don’t know when you’re going to come back. It was a good lesson, I think, for all of us.”

Searcy and the Killeen Roos are definitely not wasting the practice time that they’ve been given.

“If (there’s) anything that COVID has taught us is not

to take the time that we have for granted. I think our kids

understand that, our coaches understand that and they’re really valuing their time that they get to spend doing football – something they love to do.”