By Marty Gordon
The spring season of fall football is slated to open on Monday, Feb. 22 or is it? There has been plenty of snow on the ground, and the mercury is lingering below freezing, making this a season like no other.
Not only are local schools still dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, they are also dealing with ongoing winter sports where many of their top athletes who would be on the gridiron are still playing basketball and wrestling. Throw into the mix that we are still in the winter months, and there are too many speed bumps that could affect the six-game schedule.
Both Blacksburg and Christiansburg will have turf on their side when it comes to dealing with the weather. Thus, most games will be played despite white stuff being in the forecast at any given time.
Eastern Montgomery will have the additional problem of darkness in the first part of the schedule with 2 p.m. contests scheduled for most Saturdays. Blacksburg and Eastern Montgomery will also play two games in the first six days of the spring football schedule, which is allowed. Auburn will play all of its games on Saturdays.
The Virginia High School League previously adopted the “Championships + 1” schedule for the latter part of the winter months to include: Season 2 (Fall) February 4 – May 1 (First Contest Date – February 20), competition cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, and volleyball.
“We have received invaluable input from our school communities, parents, and students who say the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation is extremely important,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “The Championships + 1 schedule will provide sports in all three seasons.
“The VHSL Executive Committee acknowledges that no plan is perfect. We are in unprecedented times in which we have been forced to create a temporary new normal. We understand this plan, or any plan, will not meet the expectations for those wanting a normal fall, winter, and spring sports season. This plan, however, will allow student-athletes and academic activity participants the opportunity of having a season and playing for a state championship.”
Predictions for the spring football season:
Blacksburg 4-2; Christiansburg 4-2; Auburn 5-1; Radford 6-0; Eastern Montgomery 3-3.
River Ridge: 1) Salem 2) Pulaski 3) Blacksburg 4) Christiansburg 5) Patrick Henry 6) Cave Spring 7) Hidden Valley
Mt. Empire: 1) Auburn 2) George Wythe 3) Ft. Chiswell 4) Grayson 5) Galax 6) Bland
Three Rivers: 1) Radford 2) Glenvar 3) James River 4) Alleghany 5) Giles 6) Floyd 7) Carroll County
Pioneer: 1) Narrows 2) Covington 3) Eastern Montgomery 4) Parry McCluer 5) Bath County