Getting ready

Sophomore Chance Bates pushes up a rep of incline bench press during the Pirates strength and conditioning session Thursday, July 23. The Pirate football team will start mandatory practice Monday, Aug. 3.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced Tuesday, July 21 all extra-curricular sports in conferences 1A-4A are allowed to start their seasons on time for the fall. Schools belonging to conferences in 5A and 6A, however, will begin the season with a delay of about one month.

Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS), 4A, will start their sports seasons on time.

The RFHS Pirate football and Lady Pirate volleyball team will both begin mandatory practices Monday, Aug. 3.

RFHS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jay Seibert said he was happy with the UIL’s decision to move ahead with the start of the season without a delay.

“I was very happy with their decision. I feel like our kids need to be playing, I feel like our kids need to be in school,” said Seibert. “Obviously there’s the health aspect (COVID-19), but from what I’ve seen in these last couple of months, these kids need structure, they need to be apart of something and I think its healthier for the kids to get back and have a little bit of structure in sports.”

Seibert said the plan all along for the RFHS football team was to be ready to go Monday, Aug. 3.

“We had plan B’s and plan C’s in case they postponed us,” said Seibert. “But it ended up being August 3, so we’re ready to go.”

RFHS has been hosting strength and conditioning workouts for all Rockport-Fulton Middle School and RFHS athletes since Monday, June 8, four days out of the week.

Other than a UIL imposed stoppage across the state after the July 4 weekend, the RFHS athletic program has not had to shut down workouts due to a COVID-19 case amongst the athletes in attendance.

“We’ve been really lucky as a strength and conditioning program that we haven’t had to shutdown. We’re one of the few around the area that’s continued to go through this,” said Seibert. “We’ve been very blessed in that aspect.”

Due to the UIL’s decision to delay 5A and 6A football programs to a start date of September 7, RFHS will no longer scrimmage Ray High School or play Corpus Christi – King, both 5A schools, in week two.

The UIL is also allowing only one scrimmage for every 1A-4A football program to start the season.

Due to the situation in Jim Wells County, Alice High School, as of press deadline Thursday, July 23, is not allowed to play a district game until October 9. Alice was initially scheduled as RFHS’s second scrimmage of the season.

This meant RFHS needed to find an opponent to scrimmage, and an opponent to play in week two of the regular season.

As of press deadline, RFHS will play its first scrimmage away against Tidehaven High School Thursday, Aug. 20 and play Corpus Christi – Miller at home for their week two game Friday, Sept. 4.

In his first season as head coach, RFHS Head Volleyball Coach Mark Jeffery was also glad to hear the UIL’s decision in allowing them to have a season.

“I’m just happy we get to play,” said Jeffery. “With everything that’s gone on, with everything that’s been shutdown and everything that the kids have missed, we’re just thankful we get to play.”

Jeffery said the team wants to get out there and play and don’t care who it is.

“The girls are just so excited they get to play,” said Jeffery. “They don’t care if there is or isn’t tournaments, they just want an opportunity.

“We’re super happy the UIL decided, ‘This is how we’re going to do it.’ It’s a tough spot to be in for the UIL in terms of making a decision that impacts so many people. I think they did a really good job in coming to an agreement that benefits everybody, but at the same time keeps everybody safe.”

As far as the Lady Pirate volleyball team’s schedule is concerned, big volleyball tournaments such as ones hosted by the Corpus Christi Independent School District and Sinton will not be played to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Instead, RFHS will play mostly one-on-one games and small scrimmages between three to four teams in preseason and non-district games.

The ladies district schedule was also changed slightly following the UIL’s announcement Tuesday. The UIL moved district certification to earlier in the season for volleyball. The Lady Pirates will start its district season earlier, playing their first district game Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Ingleside.

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