Over the course of eight weeks during the summer, the Key West High School (KWHS) football team prepared for the upcoming 2021 season with an intensive training program led by head coach John Hughes. Now, going into the new season, they are more prepared than ever.
Because of COVID-19, the team is very cautious about playing this high contact sport, but to them, the risk has proven itself well worth it considering how much they have improved their game. “I’m surprised how the new players have been getting to know the playbooks and stepping up whenever they get the opportunity,” said Henry “Trey” Audette, one of the team’s quarterbacks.
Beyond even the new players, older team members have shown massive development in their talent during this pre-season practice. “Aside from tremendous talent, senior leadership and determination is what makes a good team,” stated Hughes. When the now-seniors were younger, they saw the role models before them, and knew what it takes to lead the group of boys to success.
With the great losses in opportunities for games last year due to COVID-19, the returning players have been more appreciative for every chance they get to play on the field. “This year’s returning members know the feeling of having games taken away from them, so they don’t take anything for granted,” explained Hughes.
The ultimate goal for this season is obvious: win the district and reach the state playoffs. The group has reached the postseason in six of the last seven seasons, so chances of making it this year are very likely. With the preseason game coming up this Friday, August 20th, Hughes would like to kick off the season with a victory. However, making sure that everyone is mentally and physically healthy is more important on his agenda.
No matter how new you are to the sport, or you’ve been doing this for a long time like Audette, every member of the team is like a puzzle. Each has a purpose no matter how big or small they are. “The most important part of making a good team is the team itself,” said Audette. “Football is the ultimate team sport, so there’s no room for individual players.”
If you want to support the team, make sure to come out to the KWHS back field, “The Backyard,” for the home game this Friday and all future home games. For more information, you can email our new athletic director, Justin Martin, at email@example.com, or contact John Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.