Sports: Coronavirus effects felt by Watertown Red & Black and high school sports teams

Sports: Coronavirus effects felt by Watertown Red & Black and high school sports teams

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Like the rest of the sports world, the Watertown Red and Black semi-pro football team is beginning to feel the effects of concerns surrounding the Coronavirus.

The Watertown Red and Black were scheduled to have a meet and greet Saturday at Above Reality in Watertown’s Stateway Plaza, but Friday night Red and Black Coach George Ashcraft erred on the side of caution and postponed the event.

“Well, with everything that’s going on, you know, with the more and more you hear about this- It is a very serious thought pattern behind it. Even with, you know, if we had 50-60 people tomorrow you never know what could happen with anybody and I don’t wanna take a chance of anybody ever getting sick over something that we had done just out of, you know, trying to group for something that’s gonna be 3-4 months down the road,” said Coach George Ashcraft.

Ashcraft has also cancelled a scheduled practice for Monday night at the Fairgrounds YMCA and says depending on the length of restrictions due to the Coronavirus, the Empire Football League schedule could be affected with opening day the 4th of July.

“We all start early with practicing and what not. You know, if only going 2 days a week and you wanna put the best product that you can and have them as educated in knowing what’s going on, too. So, you know, our season starts July 4th here at home and moving forward we’ll have to wait and see,” said Ashcraft.

As far as the team is concerned, Ashcraft says the on the field product is shaping up very good with a mix of new players and veterans set to take the field for the 2020 season.

“Right now, I’ve got 60 people signed up, all positions are still wide open just because that’s what we do. I try to field the best team I possibly can, we don’t have to usually cut too many people, they take care of that themselves with whether they think they can make it or not. But every year is a new year. You know, I’ve got 15-20 people played last year that have already signed up and there’s another 5 or 10 that were suppose to be around the next week or 2 to sign up. So, I think we’ll be fine once we can get this thing rolling,” said Ashcraft.

The Red and Black are scheduled to open their 2020 Empire Football League season at home on July 4th against Utica.

Late Saturday afternoon, the City of Watertown announced that the Watertown Municipal Arena will be closing effective Monday, March 16th until further notice due to concerns over the Coronavirus

The press release did not give a date when the arena would re-open to the public.

This weekend was suppose to be the weekend that the Lowville boys basketball team and the South Jeff, Hammond and St. Lawrence Central girls basketball teams were playing for a trip to the State Final 4 in Glens Falls and Troy respectively.

But in the blink of an eye, their dreams of a state title were gone due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the postponement of the state basketball playoffs.

The same is true for the Massena Red Raiders Boys’ Hockey Team. They were scheduled to play Bethlehem in the Boys’ State Final 4 Hockey Tournament in Buffalo Saturday.

Just minutes before they were set to leave for Buffalo, the team was informed that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association had postponed all winter sports championships indefinitely.

For the Red Raiders, it was a move they understand, but a tough pill to swallow.

“Just, it’s very emotional. These kids have worked their tails off and to get where they’ve gotten and to know what they had ahead of them. For the seniors, 3 of our seniors, it would be their 3rd time in 4 years attending the Final 4. And to have not been successful in 2 of those years their goal was to be successful this year as was the rest of the team and the leadership that they brought to push this team to get to where they’re at today. And to have to relay that message to them it’s gut wrenching,” said Massena Coach Mike Trimboli.

Watch the video above for our Rob Krone’s report.

Saturday Sports Scores

College Baseball

  • SUNY Canton 13, Merchant Marine 6
  • Merchant Marine 14, SUNY Canton 1
  • Concordia 7, Clarkson 6
  • Nichols 9, Clarkson 6

College Softball

  • Clarkson 8, Nichols 6
  • Clarkson 8, Ohio Wesleyan 4

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