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Western Hills' Jason Rogers (4) heads to the end zone ahead of teammate Jacob Fields and Frankfort's Thiago Pires (24) and Gabe Langley-Boaventura (57) in the first quarter of Friday's game at Sower Field. WHHS won 28-26. (Linda Younkin/State Journal)

Two local football teams plan to be back in action Friday.

Hopefully.

“Fingers crossed we don’t get another phone call,” Western Hills coach Don Miller said.

All three teams have been quarantined the last two weeks because of COVID-19. Franklin County and Frankfort both had positive test results, and WHHS was quarantined because it played FHS the Friday before one of the Panther players tested positive.

Frankfort is scheduled to play at Eminence Friday.

“As of right now that’s the plan,” FHS coach Craig Foley said. “It’s going to be week to week, day to day this season.”

Franklin County’s quarantine ended over the weekend, but this Friday is the Flyers’ bye week. They don’t play again until Oct. 16 in Louisville against Waggener.

“I was over here yesterday at 6:30 on a Sunday morning ready to go,” FCHS coach Eddie James said.

James had a coaches’ meeting and a Zoom videoconference with parents on Sunday.

Monday was the first day that players returned to practice, and there will be at least one notable change.

“One thing we’re doing is we’re not letting them inside the building unless it’s raining or game day,” James said of his players. “It’s like youth football. You come with your helmet and shoulder pads.

“We haven’t used our locker room all year. We’ve used an open room at the end of the weight room. We’ve given them a travel bag to use every day.”

James had looked into picking up a game for Friday since it was an open date for the Flyers, but the decision was made to stick with the original schedule.

“The KHSAA has protocols for kids coming back from a positive test, like they have protocols for concussions,” he said. “We have several guys coming back who are getting over this, and we want to make sure they’re healthy before we play somebody.”

James said eight players and four assistant coaches tested positive. None had to be hospitalized.

“Every day, since school is virtual, I had them meet me at 10:30, just to make sure they were up and going to class,” he said about his team.

“At 5 every day we had a team workout. It was a 30- to 45-minute workout by Zoom just to keep them active. We watched film, did some football stuff digitally, just to keep them engaged.”

Frankfort returns to practice Tuesday.

“We’ve been doing Zoom meetings to keep them involved,” Foley said. “No one has said anything about not being ready to go. To my knowledge everyone is ready to go.

“It’s been tough. It’s given me a lot of time to look at game film and things like that. I’ve had a honey-do list at home, and during the day I’ve had my school work every day, and keeping up with the kids. Quarantine is no fun.”

Western Hills was the first local team to return to practice, going through a light workout Saturday morning.

“We looked at what Henry County does on special teams,” Miller said. “On offense they’re more of a two-back team. They do a lot of power runs, and we looked at how our offense lines up against their defense.

“We thought it was best for us to bring them in and get them out there.”

Miller had workouts for his team online during the quarantine.

“It was something for them to do, Monday through Friday, to work on conditioning,” he said. “We’ve only played two games, and it usually takes three or four games to get in football condition.

“Tuesday we had a virtual meeting with the defensive position coaches. Wednesday it was a special teams meeting, and Thursday we had an offensive position meeting. Saturday we got back at it.”

Friday’s games will be the district openers for Western Hills and Frankfort.

Franklin County was scheduled to open district play Sept. 18 against Shelby County, but that game wasn’t played because of the quarantine.

James said the game won’t be rescheduled, and it will count as a win and a loss for both teams.

“It’s the first district game we’ve lost in two years, and we didn’t even get to play,” he said.

While there will be uncertainty ahead, depending on opponents’ health and the chance schedules have to be changed at the last minute, coaches are glad the season is continuing.

“We’re just happy to have an opportunity to play,” Foley said. “It’s a lot like a scrimmage where you go in blind. You don’t know much about your opponent, so you work on your game and fixing your errors.”

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