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"We're the lucky ones": Some local high school football teams can practice, while some can't

Weddington Football started conditioning drills on July 6, as allowed by Union County Public Schools

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Union County Public Schools began fall athletics workouts on Monday, including the Weddington High School football team.

Warriors running back Will Shipley says his team feels a responsibility to make sure other teams can follow suit.

"We're one of the lucky ones," Shipley said. "We're taking the guidelines very seriously."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were set to begin workouts Monday, but called them off last Thursday. CMS has not set a new date, citing concerns over COVID-19 numbers and "uncertainty and many unanswered questions at the present time." 

RELATED: CMS indefinitely suspends start of summer athletics

But Weddington, and other Union County athletics programs, were allowed back July 6 under Phase One guidelines set by the NCHSAA.

Workouts consisted of groups of no more than 25, with staggered times, to prevent players from congregating before practice.

Players were screened for symptoms and temperature before practice.

They had to wear masks until they reached the practice field, and maintained social distancing by keeping themselves and their belongings six feet from one another.

The NCHSAA also mandates that practices consist only of conditioning and individual drills, with no contact or sharing of equipment.

RELATED: Fort Mill High School cancels football practices after person tests positive for COVID-19

RELATED: CMS waiting until July 6 to resume fall sports workouts

"Obvioulsy we've expressed the importance of them being careful with it -- the screening process and taking it seriously," said Warriors coach Andy Capone.

Weddington is the two-time defending 3AA state champions, and are scheduled to open the season Aug. 22 vs. Ardrey Kell.

But it remains to be seen if the high school season in North Carolina begins on time.

"There's a lot of questions right now," Capone said, "we're going to try and take it a day at a time and every day we get out here with these guys is a blessing and we're fortunate for it."