Cougars have high hopes for football season

Cougars dust off their helmets, ready to tear up some turf after hibernation

The football team will be having their first-ever spring season. Many aspects of the season have changed due to COVD-19.

“The season is a lot different since it’s a shorter season and with all of the COVID protocols that we have to go through,” Jack Ratajczyk (10), wide receiver and safety, said. 

The team has put numerous measures into place in order to ensure the team is staying safe during the pandemic. 

The players were tested for COVID-19 before their season started, and they are also required to take weekly tests, with the goal of catching any possible cases before the virus can spread. 

This year, only 20 players are allowed into the locker room at a time, having the teams go in shifts. Freshmen also have a separate time to change in the locker room to allow for social distancing. 

Additionally, the team isn’t allowed to share water like they do during their normal season. 

“Whenever we go on water breaks, we go in shifts. We’re all six feet apart when we’re drinking water,” Mason Hewett (12), safety, said.  

The introduction of masks during play has physically changed the game for the players. 

“[Wearing masks] makes it harder to breathe because we have to wear our helmets, a mouth guard, and a mask, so it’s harder to breathe and communicate on the field,” Ratajczyk said.

There was a case of COVID-19 on the team on March 14. The team was able to successfully quarantine for 10 days and tested negative as a whole. They resumed play after the quarantine period, fitting in four days of practice before their first game. 

The boys have already captured a win on their first game of the season, winning 36-12 against Highland Park. They also defeated Deerfield with a score of 19-6.

Despite the many changes, the boys are looking forward to getting on the field to play. Some players are thankful to have time away from their screen and others are determined to go 5-0 this season. 

“I think we’re all just looking forward to getting some playing time,” Hewett said. 

With almost 20 returning seniors, most of whom were three-year starters, head coach Bill Bellecomo and his team are looking forward to having a lot of experience on the field. 

Fans are also excited about being able to come and support the team. Spectators are able to sign up for seats by filling out a form that Athletic Director, Mr. Brian McDonald will send out. After all players’ family members sign up to watch, seats are then open to the student body. 

“I’m really glad they’re letting fans come out to support. Football is my favorite sport, and being able to watch with my friends will bring some light into this unique time we are in,” Mia Soto (11) said.