Concerns Remain For Upcoming High School Football Season Due to COVID 19

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The NFL has canceled their annual Hall of Fame exhibition game on August 6th due to COVID 19. Not exactly a positive step for playing football this year. The high school season is just two months away, and there remain plenty of concerns for area coaches.

You get the sense all this coronavirus talk is getting old for high school coaches.

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Said Heritage head coach E.K. Slaughter:”I’m done anticipating because there’s no predicting it. So as far as I’m concerned, we’ve got one more day in June which is today, and then we are going to prep for July 6th. But I can’t even prep for July 6th until the GHSA tells me what it’s going to look like.”

Said South Pittsburg head coach Vic Grider:”When the dead period is over, we’re six weeks from playing a football game, so people have to be preparing in a football nature. Doing things the way we’re doing them now. Speaking for our county, we can’t get ready to play a football game right now.”

If play begins, there’s really no guarantee it will continue.

Said Slaughter:”The challenge is. We tend to go at it like nobody is going to get the virus, but the reality is kids are going to get the virus, so how are we going to react to that. Are we going to shut sports down? Shut teams down? Shut position groups down? Are we going to be a little bit more strategic in our understanding and try to navigate through this thing.”

The virus may even affect game planning.

Said Dalton head coach Matt Land:”This year it’s like there’s a new dimension. It’s not depth because of injury. It could be depth because of disease, so I’m just challenging our coaches two things. Keep it really, really simple. We need to be able to run it. If we put five mules and a goat out there, we’ve got to be able to run that offense.”

Now I’d pay to see that offense.

Despite the pandemic, high schools still need paying fans to make the season a go.
Said Grider:”It would be very difficult for us to play without fans, and I don’t mean that from an atmosphere situation as much as I do from a financial situation because we’re like anybody else. The fans are what allow your program to operate.”

Hopefully we will play, but it could be some ugly football, which is just fine with Coach Land.

Said Land:”I’ll take bad football against bad football with bad coaching and bad fans and bad officiating. (chuckles)I’ll take it all to make it live and real and in real-time you know. I just whew. I’ve seen all the replays I can stand. I’ve memorized the SEC history channel or whatever that is.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.