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Several youth football leagues make call not to play in 2020

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 11:27 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Young football players are finding out they won't be playing a single down in 2020.

Some of the first dominoes appear to be falling in the pandemic’s effect on the upcoming football season, as several youth leagues in the Tri-State have gone ahead and cancelled their entire seasons.

Nine-year-old Landon Holley says Saturdays this fall just won’t be the same.

When asked what he likes most about playing football, he said, “Hitting hard, scoring touchdowns, and celebrating with your team.”

Holley was entering his third year playing for the Ona-Milton Youth Football League, which announced on their Facebook page Sunday they’ve made the difficult decision to cancel their 2020 football and cheer season.

Youth football leagues for Barboursville and the DC Express in Huntington have also called off their seasons.

When asked how he felt when he heard his season wouldn’t be happening, Holley said, “Sad, because I love football.”

“It’s really unfortunate, because the kids enjoy playing football, but mostly we won’t get to play with the football family we’ve grown to know,” his mother Jessica Holley said.

The Ona-Milton league’s post says “Obviously the safety of all involved in our league is first and foremost, and we believe we could comply with safety guidelines as set out by various health boards. However, other leagues have indicated they intend to take a more cavalier approach, which could put our league at unnecessarily increased risk.”

“On the field they are up in each other’s faces,” Jessica said. “There could be spit, stuff like that flying, and it probably would cause a little more risk.”

The Ona-Milton league says they believe the likelihood of getting started and then having to shut down a few weeks into the season is highly probable. They say they’d prefer to go ahead and issue refunds now before they have additional expenses, which would make giving refunds impossible.

Kids who were signed up to play or cheer for the Tri-State leagues that called off their seasons will be allowed to play or cheer for other youth leagues in the Tri-State that are moving forward with their seasons.

Landon’s mother says she’d considered letting her son play for Barboursville until she learned they had cancelled their season as well.

Copyright 2020 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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