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Arlington Martin Starts Football Practice as 5A, 6A Schools Cleared to Begin

Warriors return to workouts after 2020 season delayed by COVID-19

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Friday Night Lights are a sure sign that it’s high school football time in Texas.

But because of the pandemic, only classes 1A through 4A are playing games right now.

“It’s difficult to watch for sure," Arlington Martin senior tight end Nichola Panella said. "But it’s also kind of encourages you to keep going, pushing and know that you’ll be under the lights soon and playing just like they are.”

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Arlington Martin is among the class 5A and 6A schools that weren’t allowed to start practicing until this week.

The delay turned into an educational experience for Bob Wager who spent the past two Friday nights attending games instead of coaching them.

“I watched teams get better from Week 1 to Week 2 and I’m not talking about how they block and tackle," Wager said. "I’m talking about how they socially distance. How they mask up. How they get a drink. How the crowd was.”

The Warriors hope it prepares them well for their season which begins Sept. 25 in AT&T Stadium against Denton Ryan.

It's a season that will likely stretch into January 2021 for the first time ever.

“It’s going to be different because we’re used to finishing in December," senior linebacker Morice Blackwell Jr. said. "We have to do what has to be done and that’s to win and chase a state championship and if we have to go all the way to next December, that’s what we have to do.”

“We often joke June 8 first day of camp kind of like Christmas. Sept. 7 first day of practice kind of like Christmas," Wager said. "Playing football at or around Christmas day? It may be the greatest Christmas gift ever given.”

And a day back at practice is a pretty nice gift too.

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