Edisto head football coach Preston Deaver expects a celebratory atmosphere when the Cougars hit the field Thursday.
"It's like we're going back to the first day of fall camp," Deaver said Wednesday. "We'll finally have everybody back tomorrow after two weeks."
Even after its first game against Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Deaver said some of the team had to miss the next game due to contact tracing.
On Aug. 27, Edisto defeated H-K-T/North 43-6 to even its record at 1-1 on the season. That next week, while preparing for a game against Andrew Jackson Academy, everything came to a halt.
"It's been difficult," Deaver said. "Not just football, class sizes got smaller with kids quarantining. I think the guys are going to be excited just to walk down the hall of the school again."
Now, after nearly two weeks, Deaver and the Cougars will once again be able to hit the field as they prepare to play Dreher Saturday in Columbia.
"Everybody is definitely ready to go," Deaver said. "We did a good job in the offseason of building relationships with our team through communication and commitment."
4-A Dreher played its first game Sept. 3, a 32-21 loss to Keenan. Saturday will be the first game for the Blue Devils since that opening loss.
According to Deaver, Thursday will be "back to basics" for the Cougars.
"We spent much of the spring and summer installing (the playbook)," Deaver said. "You do worry about conditioning. I don't know how many guys kept up with running or lifted weights in their garage, but we have a chance to knock off the rust."
During the time off, Deaver said he has leaned on the leadership of his senior class. The Cougars have 14 seniors led by captains Andrew Mount and Jacob Nix.
"(As coaches) we challenged them to take ownership of this program, and they have done a great job of that," Deaver said. "Some lead vocally, some by example."
Deaver said he feels for the seniors who have lost the last two weeks of their playing career. He said he is grateful to Dreher for taking the game and moving it to Saturday morning to accommodate his team.
"I'm just glad (our seniors) will get another chance to go out and play," Deaver said. "We don't know what the rest of the schedule will look like, but we're going to try our best to make sure they have a chance to play every week."
Edisto will face Dreher Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia with kickoff scheduled for 10 a.m.