LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Lufkin Panthers head coach, Todd Quick, is taking part in a role he never expected, cleaning down benches and weights between sets, during a global pandemic.
But it’s a task he and his staff are more than willing to take on, for their athletes.
“Whatever kid walks through that door we’re going to do everything we can to keep them safe but we are going to get as much workout as we can,” said Quick.
He’s also looking to his senior leaders, to make sure they are keeping the underclassmen in check, whether that’s pushing themselves, or staying safe.
“They keep telling us to lead by example every day so the younger guys will start following,” said defensive end Tavaris Owens. “I feel like it’s working.”
As the Panthers prepare their bodies for another grueling season, some are also worried, if COVID-19 numbers don’t start dipping, they could see it disappear.
“I’ve been concerned since March since we didn’t get back to school, so I’ve been very concerned and I hope we get a season,” said middle linebacker Khaden Maxie.
Which is why the team hopes people outside of the program take notice of what they are doing, to try and limit the spread.
“We want the season so bad, we don’t care about a mask, we’ll wear it regardless if that’s what it takes to have a season,” said Maxie. “We want people to see hey, they can wear a mask too we can wear a mask in hundred-degree weather.”
“We’re reaching out to our people in our community and the county saying look, if these kids can do this at one-o-clock in the heat then you can do that when you walk into Wal-Mart,” said Quick. “That’s kind of the way we are still leading even though they are 15, 16, 17 years old they are leading the people.”
So while for much of their time together, their faces are hidden, but their work, and example, speaks loud and clear to their head coach.
“It’s hard now because you’re looking through the mask, you can’t see facial expressions,” said Quick. “But you can see their eyes and that’s a big thing, is looking them face to face and eye to eye and see those kids are willing to do whatever they can to have the opportunity to play.”
If all stays on track, their first game will be on the road in Tyler, against the Lee Red Raiders on August 28th.
Watch the video to see Garrett Sanders’ story.