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Head football coaches at St. Helens and Scappoose are gearing up for gridiron action.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - Sean McNabb is the head football coach at Scappoose High School. It was a rough go for the Scappoose and St. Helens football teams during week one of the football season on Friday, March 5.

St. Helens fell to Hillsboro 54-0, while Scappoose lost at Wilsonville, 34-15.

Despite the opening-night losses, coaches Sean McNabb and Cory Young are looking to put the pandemic year behind them and focus more on the shortened 5A football season ahead of them.

Scappoose coach McNabb looked back to when schools across the state shut down last year.

"We had everything on the calendar all ready to go," he said. "We had our spring football practices all set. We were going to team camp at Lewis and Clark College. That was already on the calendar.

"When we were going to come back in August, I had our two-a-days all scheduled. We were going to go to Camp Rilea for a week. We had everything all scheduled, ready to go, and then everything changed right around spring break."

During the shutdowns, McNabb said the team tried to stay as positive as possible.

"We just kept in communication with our players," he said. "We started doing some Zoom meetings — we kind of waited until we got word of what we could do or couldn't do. We followed all the rules and followed all the guidelines."

Moving forward to the present, McNabb said the team was able to get about three weeks of practice in before the first game.

St. Helens football coach Young also recalled how the pandemic influenced his football practices.

"It was tough, like it was for most people," Young said. "We were trying to do a lineman clinic and a barbecue, a lot of stuff planned in the summer. It all kind of got shut down, so that was tough."

Young continued, "In early August, we tried to get the kids on the turf and try to get with some informal practices and throwing the ball around a little bit. We did that for about two weeks. Then we got shut down."

As 2021 progressed for the St. Helens football squad, a late-season snowfall threw a monkey wrench into plans to keep the team primed and ready to go.

"The snowstorm hit," Young said. "We were supposed to practice and we had 10 inches of snow on the field. Kids on this side of the mountain didn't have anything to get the field dragged, or anything like that, to get the snow off. Kids couldn't get to practice. We understood that."

With a little help shoveling the white stuff, practice was able to resume.

"From there, it has just been getting back to it," Young said. "A lot of times, it has been good for the kids and the coaches, getting back to normal a little bit. There are a few things that are different, but it has been fun to go to practice every day. You don't realize how much you miss something until it's taken away from you."

As with Young, McNabb is looking forward to the season.

"There have been a lot of roadblocks," McNabb said. "Our players have really done a good job of taking advantage of opportunities. They were really excited (opening game). You could see it. They competed hard from start to finish."

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