Football returned Monday, Aug. 3 across Wharton County.

Student athletes from the Wharton Independent School District’s threw the football around at Eddie Joseph Memorial Stadium.

Putting on the helmets came this week.

Because Wharton ISD suspended its summer workouts on July 14, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) guidance stated schools that haven’t been working out regularly will have to undergo a week of strength and conditioning.

Despite athletic facilities being closed, the Wharton ISD did provide drills for students to do at home so they could stay in shape for when they eventually would come back.

Uncertainty surrounding the season was a worry for the Tigers until just recently.

“Yeah (I thought football wasn’t coming back). They had a rumor going around saying that football was going to get canceled due to COVID-19,” senior wide receiver/ defensive back James Jones said. “I checked in with my coach and he said that was a false rumor. So, I started working out.”

On a Tigers’ text chain, they all found out the news and seriously started preparing to come back to the field about two weeks ago, Jones said.

Wharton athletes spent a lot of time apart since spring break when the school shut down, but Aug. 3 was special.

“It means a lot and it feels good,” Jones said.

For the rest of the week, the Tigers worked out at the stadium for two hours beginning in the early evening.

Wharton ISD officials have played it safe throughout the offseason. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing students and coaches are ready for football to come back and will do so cautiously.

“COVID definitely causes some obstacles, but we will follow every guideline to keep our kids safe and healthy,” Wharton Athletics Director Chad Butler said. “We are excited and look forward to a great season, regardless of the obstacles.”

 Lady Tigers eye weekend

Like football, the Lady Tigers’ volleyball program also had to wait a week before fully starting.

Last week, athletes continued strength and conditioning. They worked out from 10 a.m. to noon at the old high school gym.

The Lady Tigers’ first scrimmages can start this weekend, either Aug. 14-15 and they can play games next week, Monday, Aug. 17.

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