High school football players hoping season isn’t cancelled

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - High school football teams in Ohio are practicing and preparing for the season, while major college programs are finding out they'll be sidelined this fall, due to COVID-19 concerns.

In a sport where social distancing is impossible, players hope the powers that be don't make the call to prevent them from playing the game they love.

"It would be bad," Coal Grove Dawson Bryant senior Tucker Meadows said. "I'd probably be pretty upset."

Seniors on the Coal Grove Hornets football squad say the fear of having their season shut down or cut short is constantly in the back of their minds.

"It's pretty stressful, Coal Grove senior Ben Compliment told WSAZ at the team's practice Wednesday morning. "You don't even know if you're going to get to play or not. Your senior year, you want to get in as many games as you can, but you also want to stay as safe as you can."

Officials already announced the season would be reduced in Ohio from 10 regular season games to six.

"It's a mess," Meadows said.

The news that the Big Ten was postponing football season and that their beloved Ohio State Buckeyes won't be on the gridiron this fall is underlining how fragile the prospect is of playing in 2020.

"Most of our games are within 10 or 15 minutes of each other, so it's a different dynamic," Coal Grove head coach Jay Lucas said. Like the governor did say, what would the kids be doing if they didn't play football?"

Everywhere in public, people are told to stay 6 feet apart to stay safe. In a sport with blocking and tackling, social distancing is not an option.

Coach Lucas says they do everything they can to minimize the risk.

"We try to maintain the social distance as much as possible," Lucas said. "We realize in some drills it's not as conducive, but we try to get through those drills as quickly as we can and move on to something else where we can keep some distance."

"Being a senior is kind of part of it," Meadows said. "Finally I'm there, and it's something I want to do and want to happen."

At his news conference Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports would have no bearing on the fate of Ohio high school fall sports.

Copyright 2020 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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