Saturday Sports: Looking at the challenges of a March-April HS football season

Saturday Sports: Looking at the challenges of a March-April HS football season
With the high school football season pushed to March and April of 2021, coaches and administrators are examining the challenges the schedule change poses (Source: wwny)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Wednesday night, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that fall high-risk sports- football, volleyball, and cheer- would be moved to a fall 2 season which will begin March 1st.

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas says the move gives these sports a better chance to happen.

“I don’t think anything’s a given right now," Zayas said. "I think if we lead anybody to believe that anything’s a given in the upcoming school year, we’re misleading people. But we’re certainly not trying to do that. What we’re saying is the likelihood of student athletes having a quality participation experience in March in those high-risk sports is better than what it would be to start high-risk sports right now.”

But moving the football season to March presents a number of challenges. One of those challenges is the weather.

Unlike September and October, where there is rarely snow, starting football on March 1st means players and coaches will likely be dealing with snow and cold, with an average high of 40 degrees and an average low close to 22 degrees.

“It’s definitely a concern," Zayas said. “I mean, I’m going to be praying for the warmest winter in the history of New York State, so I think it’s a concern, it’s a reality of the situation, it’s one of the obstacles that we’re going to have to deal with and we’re going to have to monitor the weather as we get to that point in the season.”

Playing football from March to Mid-April means that players will have a four month break before returning to the gridiron for a traditional fall football season in August. That sets up back-to-back season in 2021. The concern is, players won’t get the rest they need.

7 News asked Carthage football coach Jason Coffman about his thoughts this week.

“It puts a beating on your body, but at the same time, you know, at 16, 17, 18 year old kids, I hope these kids can recover and they can go and they can move on from one sport to the next like they do in the season," Coffman said. “To play football in the spring and then play again in the fall the following year was something we have to sit down and make sure that we put our kids in the best position to be successful and be safe.”

With athletes essentially playing sports year round, one player I spoke with says he feels playing back-to-back high school football seasons shouldn’t be a concern.

“I don’t think that will be too hard of a challenge because the whole summer we play summer lacrosse so we’ll already be in the best physical shape we can be in. So I think it will be just as easy as it’s always been to play in August,” said Carthage junior Carter Kempney.

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