HAMLIN — The three-week practice period granted yearly by the WVSSAC typically takes place during the middle of June every summer.
However, due to COVID-19, the conclusion of the 2021 spring sports season in West Virginia was pushed back into late June, which delayed the start of the 2021 three-week practice period to July 12.
The three-week period will end on July 30 and regular season practice will begin on August 2 which means high school coaches in West Virginia can essentially use the three-week period as a “training camp” for the regular season.
Lincoln County head coach Bradley Likens and his Panthers got to work at Lions Club Field on Monday of this past week and the second year coach was pleased with the turnout as over 45 players came out for workouts.
“Our numbers are in the mid to upper 40s so far in this first week which is really good for Lincoln County”, Likens said. “We probably have more lineman here probably since I played. We’ve had absolutely no issues with attitude or anything like that, these kids have all been 100 percent bought in...our locker room has been really good so far.”
The Panthers competed in a MSAC 7v7 Tournament on Thursday of this past week at Hurricane High School as they faced Parkersburg South, Cabell Midland, and Scott High School.
Coach Likens was pleased with his team’s showing considering they only had three days of practice time total prior to the 7v7 and with a few starters out of town on vacation.
“Defensively we played really well,” Likens said. “Isaiah Koontz played really well, he had a pick six there early on. Isaiah Smith played really well both offensively and defensively and then Joey Greene was a pleasant surprise for us. He’s a kid who has not played football for me and he’s coming in as a senior but he had a couple picks and caught a couple tough balls offensively. He’s a kid that kind of surprised me that I think is going to help us.”
The Panthers will compete in another 7v7 before the end of the three-week period at Clay County High School on July 27 and will also take place a couple of fun, team building activities on the last two Friday nights in July.
On July 23 Lincoln County will host their own “Wrestlemania” and then on July 30 they will cap of the three-week period with a team cookout.
“When I became coach here I decided that I wanted to do some extra fun things that build chemistry and help build that team feel. Team bonding activities,” Likens said. “People don’t realize how important it is to have some fun time for the kids. The Wrestlemania will be something fun for the kids and then the cookout will give the kids a chance to sit around and be together and not have to worry about football. And I think that’s more important than most people realize.”
Lincoln County will continue putting in work throughout the three-week period until regular season practice begins on Aug. 2. They have scrimmage games scheduled against Poca on Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. and at Wayne on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.