Football teams find new ways to play in response to COVID-19

Izzy Rejino and Natalie Cullen


Reagan Zuniga

HAIL MARY: Junior quarterback Diego Tello searches for an open teammate to pass to in their game against Austin High. The varsity lost to Austin High 57-56.

Luke Smith, Reporter

Whether it’s high school, college, or professional football, COVID-19 has had an impact. As seen in sports media, games have been delayed and teams, including Bowie football, have been forced to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of the world post-COVID-19.

Varsity coach Rey Torres explains the changes the team has made in order to practice and play safely.

“Our team is very well adjusted [to the changes],” Torres said. “They don’t have a dressing room, so they wear their pads to practice. They don’t have buses to most of their games, so they drive their cars or parents take them to the games. We don’t share water facilities at practice, so they bring their own water jugs.”

Social distancing has been enforced at their practices, but they have not been practicing any less than normal since the season started.

“The practice time is pretty much the same [as last year],” junior varsity defensive end Alex Sauceda said. “The team follows social distancing and wears masks to avoid spreading COVID-19.”

The team has also altered how they would normally meet to go over plays and discuss tactics.

“We have Zooms daily for every position, which entails what the coaches want from us and [what plays they want] to teach us,” Sauceda said. “Also, during drills, when the district allows us to be closer than [six feet], we are usually being instructed on plays then.”

The situation has also had a slight impact on the team schedule.

“Our schedule has been modified to one out-of-district game with a regular district schedule,” varsity quarterback junior Diego Tello informs.

Though the district schedule was not changed significantly, the delayed start did push back play-offs several weeks.

“Due to the delay of school reopening, our season started [four weeks] later than normal,” Torres said. “Normally, playoff season starts in early November. Now the playoffs start the first week in December. Now you should be expecting a colder and wetter playoff season in December.”

Since coaches had to come up with a new practice plan, players have had to adapt to the new standards and practice guidelines.

“[At] practices we have to wear masks, and when we are not in [a drill] we have to be every five yards apart,” varsity senior cornerback Jacob Harrison said.

COVID-19 has also impacted football by limiting the amount of fans, if any, allowed in stadiums.

“The stands can get rowdy and the fans’ excitement can help the team with a positive momentum shift in the game,” Torres said. “However, I will say, without people in the stands, the players can communicate with each other more efficiently.”

Despite these new and uncharted circumstances, Sauceda has a positive outlook on the season.

“[JV has] had some good scrimmages and [we] think [we] have a good team this year,” Sauceda said.

Harrison is confident in the varsity players’ abilities as well and has big goals for his senior season.

“We feel like [varsity] will dominate this season and feel that we will have a better season than the last one,” Harrison said.