JOAQUIN, Tx (KMSS/KTAL) – Spring football is back in Joaquin, Texas. With COVID-19 shutting down team activities last spring, this year’s practices are even more special.
“We were just glad to have a spring this year,” said Rams’ Head Coach Wade Lawson. “When that’s taken away, you realize how special this is to get to do everyday.”
The coaching staff and players had to adjust their routines and schedules multiple times last season. Just being able to go out and practice as one team is something the Rams are not taking for granted.
“It’s incredible,” said senior tackle Chris Harper. “It’s so good to be back here and be normal. It’s just amazing.”
In addition to practices and workouts being cancelled, the students took classes online. Being back with not only their teammates, but their friends, is an added bonus to football returning.
“It’s very meaningful because we treat each other as family,” said senior defensive end Nahum Rivera. “We’re brothers.”
While the pandemic halted the Rams’ time together, it also delayed the debut of their new turf. However now, spring ball is back along with their new facility.
“We’re trying to be advanced in everything we do,” said Lawson. “Trying to be a step ahead.”
Joaquin is the first school in Texas to use T-Cool technology in their turf. Not only does it keep the field cooler, but also the athletes safer.
“As a coach we’re hard on kids,” said Lawson. “We want to push kids. But, at the end of the day, we’re in this business because we love kids. You never want to put a kid in a situation that their health and safety could be put in jeopardy. That not to be as big of a factor, is a big stress reliever for us.”
With temperatures soaring towards 100 degrees during summer, the players can’t wait to use the new turf to their advantage.
“We won’t be dying of heat stroke,” said Rivera. “We’ll be used to the turf, and other teams who come here won’t be, so I think it’ll give us an edge,” Harper added.
Along with their new turf, the Rams also bring experience into 2021. Joaquin started the season 8-0, but when it came down to the final stretch and playoffs, the young team struggled.
“Our season did not end the way we wanted last year,” said Lawson. “We felt like we left a lot on the table last season. It really bothered these young kids. They were very young and inexperienced. It’s amazing to see how those kids have grown from last year and the transformations to now. It’s really going to show come football season.”
The Rams will debut their new turf in their home opener against Beckville on Aug. 26.