Hartsville High School: ‘Excited, but with a little bit of caution’

Hartsville Red Foxes Coach Jeff Calabrese. PHOTO BY PHYLLIS CAPLES

How does Hartsville High School’s head football coach, Jeff Calabrese, feel about the Red Foxes’ upcoming season? “Excited,” he says. “But with a little bit of caution.” The caution comes from the fact that COVID-19, which plagued all sports in the Darlington County School District last year, is still a threat. And with the virus’ Delta variant pushing up cases throughout the state and nation, there’s no way to know how things will go. “I think we all thought the worst was behind us,” says Calabrese, who has been head football coach at HHS since 2005, and has coached 204 games, winning 159 of them. “But the pandemic is still with us, still affecting us.” Coaches, Calabrese says, need a certain amount of routine, a standard operating procedure, to work from. COVID has been denying that for a long time by making everything uncertain. “This COVID stuff,” Calabrese says, “has really kicked us sideways.” Last season, the Red Foxes were only able to play seven games. (They finished the season 4-3.) This season, the coach says, “Our team is inexperienced. We have a long way to go.” The team’s roster this season includes 61 people, with about 20 seniors. But some of the seniors have not played varsity football. “We’re going to have challenges,” Calabrese says. But his aim is to get the players to maximize their ability and “give us the best version of themselves.” — Bobby Bryant

Author: Rachel Howell

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