Coronavirus Concerns Cause Problems for the Football Team


Asher Montgomery

The football team takes a team photo on Saturday Aug. 22. The following Thursday, a team member tested positive for the coronavirus, sending some of the team into quarantine.

It’s hot and stuffy in the weight room as the football team gets started on their weight training after school. The boys are dressed in t-shirts and muscle tees and basketball shorts with masks secured over their mouths and noses, some dangling off of one ear as they reach for their water bottles.  On the whiteboard is a chart showing Grade Point Averages needed to be recruited to play football in college.

The amount of team members practicing this week and most of next week is only a little over half the size of what it was over the summer. After one player tested positive for coronavirus few days before school went back in person, all offensive and defensive linemen were asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Because of quarantine for linemen, two games originally scheduled for Sep. 11 and Sep. 17 against Gaither and Blake have been postponed.

The season will now start off with a game against Armwood scheduled for Sep. 25.

The football team practiced in different groups, separating linemen from the running backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers, defensive back, line backers and the teams two kickers. The groups meant that only the one with the student who tested positive were sent to quarantine. For those students, that means continuing school online and missing football practice for two weeks.

The linemen are allowed to come out of quarantine on Sep. 11, if no one else is showing symptoms or testing positive. As of Sep. 2, according to head coach Earl Garcia, no one else on the team is showing symptoms or has tested positive. With players returning Sep. 11, that gives the team two weeks to practice before their game against Armwood.

Coach Garcia, who has been coaching at Hillsborough for about 43 years, is concerned about how the virus will affect the team going into the season. He can see it being a concern for not only Hillsborough but for every team in the district. “It will be like chasing a moving target,” he said.

Following CDC guidelines, Garcia and the other coaches now clean the field house and enforce many more rules than they have in the past. “We spend more time cleaning than coaching,” Garcia said.

Personally though, the 68-year-old isn’t concerned for his own health. “I’m choosing not to get it,” Garcia said.  “If I get it, I will beat it and if I don’t beat it, I’ll die, so there’s nothing to worry about.”