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STAN GROSSFELD

Photos: Mass. high school football teams don’t let a little snow mar the first week back on the field

Wayland's new turf field had to be plowed before the Warriors could begin practice. Here, players are surrounded by snowbanks during practice on Tuesday.
Wayland's new turf field had to be plowed before the Warriors could begin practice. Here, players are surrounded by snowbanks during practice on Tuesday.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

Massachusetts high school football returned this past week from its COVID-19 exile with a host of safety protocols and the unbridled joy of the opening day of practice.

A Globe tour of a half-dozen fields showed general compliance with the MIAA’s recommendations to protect athletes and coaches from COVID-19, plus a universal relief to be back on the gridiron after more than 450 days away — even if it was partially covered with snow.

“I was shocked we were getting this chance and very grateful for the opportunity,” said Duxbury coach Dave Maimaron. “It’s just awesome.”

Locker rooms are closed, so that means players have to suit up in the snow. One player at Tyngsborough tried to keep his socks dry while getting ready for practice.
Locker rooms are closed, so that means players have to suit up in the snow. One player at Tyngsborough tried to keep his socks dry while getting ready for practice.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
Who needs gloves? The job of center will be a little bit chillier this spring.
Who needs gloves? The job of center will be a little bit chillier this spring.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff


Quincy Plumer shows off the newest part of Catholic Memorial's uniform: a CM mask.
Quincy Plumer shows off the newest part of Catholic Memorial's uniform: a CM mask.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Among the changes players must deal with is wearing a mouthguard and a mask at the same time. That’ll take some getting used to. Take the mouthguard out, and the player must leave the field to sanitize it.

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It also makes communication more difficult. Teams are going to have to practice their diction along with their no-huddle offenses.

“It’s going to take some getting used to, so making calls is going to be hard,” explained Wayland coach Scott Parseghian. “So where we used to have words, like ‘sharp whip tornado,’ now we might just go, ‘One!’ ”

But teams are doing their best to capture the magic of the football season. That includes some attempts to make up for traditions lost in the fall, such as the annual Thanksgiving rivalry games.

Hull and Cohasset, which usually have a date in November, are now talking turkey in April, according to Hull coach Mike O’Donnell.

“I’m going to play them as if it’s the Thanksgiving Day game,” O’Donnell said of the game scheduled for the Friday during the schools’ spring break. “They’re going to bring the trophy.”

A pair of players go through football practice at Hull High School, which sits on the water with boats as a backdrop.
A pair of players go through football practice at Hull High School, which sits on the water with boats as a backdrop.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

Duxbury sophomore Nicholas Ayres summed up the feeling after his first practice amid the snow mounds: “I’m just excited to get out here and play.”

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See photos from around Eastern and Central Massachusetts from the first week of high school football practices:

Panth Patel (left) and Zach Souza navigate the puddles and piles left behind by last week's snow storm during practice on Tuesday at Tyngsborough High School.
Panth Patel (left) and Zach Souza navigate the puddles and piles left behind by last week's snow storm during practice on Tuesday at Tyngsborough High School. Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
At Catholic Memorial, players are trading snow sleds for tackle sleds this season.
At Catholic Memorial, players are trading snow sleds for tackle sleds this season. Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
With access to indoor spaces limited for football teams this season, Wayland co-offensive coordinator Alex Ralph has to call plays on the field.
With access to indoor spaces limited for football teams this season, Wayland co-offensive coordinator Alex Ralph has to call plays on the field.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
Overkick your extra point, and your teammate may need to trudge into the snow to snag it from the back of the end zone, like this Duxbury player did on Monday.
Overkick your extra point, and your teammate may need to trudge into the snow to snag it from the back of the end zone, like this Duxbury player did on Monday.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff
A player runs drills while being framed by the snow piles after plows cleared the field at Tyngsborough on Tuesday.
A player runs drills while being framed by the snow piles after plows cleared the field at Tyngsborough on Tuesday.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

Stan Grossfeld can be reached at stanley.grossfeld@globe.com.