The high school football season was scheduled to open last Friday night but stadiums in Virginia were dark as all fall sports have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the football season is scheduled to be played in the spring with the first games on February 22.
The Virginia High School League released a tentative schedule for all fall sports on August 24, with a September 3 Executive Committee meeting to approve the “Championships + 1” schedule for the FY 2021 Athletic and Academic Activities season. That meeting has now been moved until Thursday, September 17, to give the VHSL Executive Committee and staff an additional two weeks to review and discuss feedback from membership before adopting the final schedule.
“We have received a tremendous amount of input from principals, superintendents, activity directors, and coaches since the release of the Championships + 1 schedule,” said said VHSL Executive Director, Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “This type of feedback from membership is critical and essential before approving a final plan. Moving the meeting two weeks later gives the Executive Committee and staff the necessary time to review the invaluable input we have received. From day one, we have been committed to getting this right and getting our students participating in activities safely and responsibly.”
Lord Botetourt coach Jamie Harless was on the 25 member committee to make recommendations for the football season. The regular season will consist of six games over seven weeks and four teams from each region will make the playoffs. Most likely LB will play the five Blue Ridge District opponents and one other game. The Cavaliers were scheduled to play non-district games against Bluefield, Blacksburg, William Campbell and Staunton High School.
“We wanted to play Staunton but they backed out,” said Harless. “There’s a good chance we’ll play a district team twice.”
James River is in a seven team district, so that would make it easy with six district opponents. However, that’s not set in stone.
“For the most part we are going to play Three Rivers District schools, from what I understand,” said River football coach Tim Jennings. “I don’t think the schedule is complete as of yet. There are some school division and travel dynamics throughout the district, so we may not see everyone this year. Again, we want the opportunity to play as many games as possible. Who they are is yet to be determined.”
Jennings is just happy there’s a plan to play a season under the circumstances.
“We are just pleased that we have the opportunity, and there is a way and a plan to provide teams who are good enough to compete for postseason games,” he said. “It is going to be tight – moving from one season to the next. But again, the kids at least get an opportunity to play. There was never going to be a perfect solution for everyone so I applaud the League for being diligent and working hard on the behalf of the kids and the schools.”