Special to the Elmore Autauga News
The Coronavirus may have impacted all sports at Edgewood Academy but it looks like football was the least touched by the biggest hindrance to sports we have seen in decades.
“It affected softball because we were just getting started with our season and active in tournament play. Then the season stopped. The virus and bad weather never really allowed our baseball program to get off the ground,” explained Darryl Free, Edgewood head football coach and athletic director. “Being the AD I interact with the majority of kids at the school, and it had an impact on everyone. I hope we will eventually have this behind us.”
Fast forward to early summer when much attention turns to football, especially this year since there is no baseball. Edgewood has followed all of the guidelines and prepared as much as possible for the upcoming season. The impact on football has been minimal.
“It hasn’t impacted football thus far. Not really. We have enacted the required changes especially in regards to sanitation. We have seen our kids buy into the new guidelines, and I think we will maintain the guidelines even when we are not required to do so. It makes sense to continue this effort for cleanliness and sanitation,” Free said. “As of this point I think it will be a good practice to follow permanently.”
Free admits that the guidelines have brought challenges. The one that can slow things down is the inability to share equipment, and exercising an abundance of caution in the weight room.
When things change and the recommendations loosen, then the Wildcats will move forward with their football practices.
“We will be able to throw and do things we can’t do now. Right now we are anxiously awaiting the next order from the Governor and our association (AISA). I think that will determine what we do for the rest of the summer,” Free said. “We probably will not have 7-on-7 like we have in the past. Those days are good and helps to kick things off and get the kids excited. We usually do two 7-on-7 days per year.”
The 2020 season holds a great deal of promise for the Wildcats. It will be the first year there will be a large number of seniors on the squad. After Bobby Carr left Edgewood years ago the Wildcats had few upper classmen and were forced to put many seventh and eighth graders on the field. For four straight years the Wildcats did not have more than a couple of seniors. Last year one could see the Wildcats become a much better team with the experience from seven seniors. Edgewood was 9-3 last year.
“We will be senior heavy this year. This is an important group and I think they will be a great group. They have played together for a long time,” Free said.
Edgewood’s football program has another advantage this year. The Wildcats will have a total of eight coaches, and while several are volunteers, that is quite a bit of supervision and leadership for a team that will only dress out 29-30 varsity players.