New Riverview football coach Trevor George hopes to build momentum through summer workouts

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Thursday, July 16, 2020 | 3:21 PM


When Trevor George was hired as the head coach of the Riverview football team, he hit the ground running with workout and conditioning sessions that helped him get to know better the players with whom he would be working.

The Carlynton grad said momentum built over the few weeks from the middle of February to the second week of March was promising.

But uncertainty soon set in as roadblocks to progress cropped up in the early stages of the covid-19 pandemic that eventually canceled all school activities for the remainder of the academic year.

“At the time, the kids were pretty excited for the future,” George said Tuesday as he looked over the newly lined field at Riverside Park, the setting for this week’s return to full in-person team workouts.

“With the pandemic, we still tried to keep that momentum going. We would have Zoom meetings. We did a Madden tournament. We wanted to keep the kids engaged, keep the team aspect and build the feeling of competition. Even though it was just something like Madden, they were excited about it.”

The start of on-field workouts, George said, were of benefit to some members of his coaching staff who weren’t hired until after the pandemic shutdowns started.

“They didn’t get that chance to meet the players or see them in the weight room,” George said. “(Tuesday) was the first time some of them got to interact with the kids in person, even though it will be restricted a little bit.”

With some players away on vacation, George welcomed nearly two dozen participants to workouts Tuesday and Wednesday as the team started to implement some of the new staff’s changes to the offense and defense.

Protocols, including the checking of temperatures and social distancing, were a part of the process as the players took the field. Teams at each school in the PIAA are required to adhere to a set of guidelines released by the state last month and used by their athletic departments to formulate a plan for returning to workouts.

Riverview’s plan can be viewed at riverviewathletics.org. The school board accepted the plan on Monday.

“(Riverview athletic director) Mario Rometo did a great job with the plan,” George said. “It was 17 pages long. There was nothing he missed. It was in line with a lot of the guidelines put out by a number of local and national agencies.

“Everybody is going through similar things right now. It’s all about the safety of the kids, the staff, the teachers and the administration. We were a little bummed out with being away from each other for so long, but we understand this is an unprecedented thing. It’s all about how you deal with it in your program and doing whatever you can with the restrictions while keeping everyone safe.”

Riverview finished 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the Eastern Conference last year with the one conference victory coming in a dramatic 21-20 triumph over Imani Christian.

Mike Lewis, a senior leader at linebacker and running back, said the atmosphere was positive as team members got back on the field.

“All the things we have to do are not too big of a problem,” Lewis said. “We understand it is for our safety so we can work out. I’m OK with it.

“We’ve only been working out for two days, but things seem to be coming together nicely on both offense and defense. Coach George and all the other coaches have done a great job of keeping us engaged since the spring and focused on the season. There are a lot of things to be excited about.”

The PIAA on Wednesday said it is staying the course in hopes of a regular start to the fall athletic season. For Riverview, that means heat acclimatization camp the week of Aug. 10, the start of preseason practices Aug. 17, the first scrimmage Aug. 22 and the season opener Sept. 4 at Chartiers-Houston.

“They just want to get out and run around a little bit with their teammates,” George said. “It’s on us as coaches to help bring that excitement and atmosphere while following the guidelines. We all understand that the status of the fall season could change at any time. Until then, we will continue to prepare as best we can.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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