ROCKFORD (WREX) —The IHSA announced a plan to push back football, boys soccer and girls volleyball from the fall to the spring, in an effort to salvage a season amid the pandemic. One of the fears coaches had was that the season would start in the fall, then get canceled if cases started breaking out around teams. This plan provides more time for the numbers to decrease.
"I like the idea of playing in the spring because I did not want to start in the fall and be stopped or cut off," East head coach and athletic director Gary Griffin said. "I'm excited about the possibility we can get the best of or a full season in."
The season would start with practices in mid-February and run through May 1. Coaches hope that extra time will prove to be enough.
"I just had a feeling we'd get about two weeks into the season, and you've seen it in MLB [Major League Baseball] and they have much better protocols than we do at the high school level," Aquin head coach Broc Kundert said. "We'll see. It could be a gamble too because you never know what's going to happen come springtime."
The idea that the season would be postponed does not come as a surprise to coaches, who have tried to brace for this all summer.
"I knew that we had a very low possibility of actually playing this fall," Hononegah head coach Brian Zimmerman said. "I thought maybe they'd surprise us and push us back several weeks or a month like they've done in some of the other states. I kind of prepared the boys, at least I thought I have, that this is a distinct possibility."
The weather at the start of the season will feel closer to how the end of the season normally feels.
"I think we're going to have to replace lawn mowers with snowblowers," Zimmerman said with a laugh. "The ground is going to be hard, frozen. That could impact some injuries. We have to get over the COVID-19 situation first before we can even do that. Hopefully kids get an opportunity. I commend the IHSA on giving us this opportunity."
The opportunity to play is what everybody wants. There's optimism in the air as there's at least a chance at a season, but like with everything else these days, it depends on how the coronavirus rates progress.