After losing their final three games down the stretch of the 2019 football season, the West Creek Coyotes were ready to get going with spring practice to prepare to come out stronger this fall.
That opportunity was taken from them – along with everyone else in the county – when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the city and forced sports to take a seat. The Coyotes would have wrapped up their spring season on Friday, scheduled to conclude with their annual Maroon and Silver game..
“It’s kind of difficult,” said head coach James Figueroa. “I still keep in touch with our key players, we use the Remind app to get their grades right, everything they’ve got to get done, take care of it… We don’t do X’s and O’s or anything, just making sure everybody’s safe, doing the right thing. They’ve been working out on their own, I’ve got a couple players who are setting up workouts they can do without using weights.”
One of the main holes in the West Creek roster is running back – a spot Figueroa was hoping to collect information on in May.
Their in-season game plan might need to be adjusted due to the absence of practice. The Coyotes expected to be a passing team heading into 2020, but without time to run 7-on-7 drills, the air game could need extra time to find its groove early in the year, relegating them to perhaps run the ball more.
That said, Figueroa does not expect to permanently change the playbook.
“Our scheme’s going to stay the same, we’re not changing anything,” Figueroa said. “Just getting the players in the right spots, we’re going to run our same offense… Our kids know what we’re doing. They’ve been doing our system for so long right now so we’re not going to change things. We might add or do some things differently, but the scheme’s going to be the same. I’m very fortunate I’ve got my coaches back.”
It was not just the loss of spring practice that affected the team. Senior quarterback Ti Anthony Wagner, a 2019 All-County player as selected by Main Street Clarksville, was scheduled to attend a QB combine in Florida to hone his skills before it was pushed back. However, a positive has come out of it: Figueroa has had more time to pitch his players to college programs.
Overall, the Coyotes are grateful that everyone on the team and in the city are on the same page. In the meantime, Figueroa is sorting his priorities for when practices can resume under any given conditions.
“The main thing is getting our kids back in playing shape,” he said. “I’m sure most are going to bed late, waking up late as well, so getting these kids on a routine is a big thing as far as getting them back in playing shape, getting acclimated to the routine and part of playing football. That’s my number one goal.”
West Creek is scheduled to open its season on Friday, Aug. 21 at Greenbrier. They defeated the Bobcats 27-19 last year.