High school football coach understands “beating that virus” takes priority over sports

Beau Allen had a successful 2019 season and then signed with Kentucky. This year’s senior face a lot of uncertainty about the 2020 season.  (Advocate-Messenger Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

With the start of the high school football season now officially delayed in Tennessee and Georgia likely to also face a late start, Kentucky high school football coaches can only continue to follow Kentucky High School Athletic Association and state government mandates.

The Kentucky Football Coaches Association had representatives meet recently with Attorney General Daniel Cameron about the difficulty certain guidelines have been to getting football started. The KHSAA Board of Control has a meeting scheduled next week that could well give clarity on what might lie ahead.

Veteran coach Jerry Perry of Garrard County is someone I’ve known a long time. He’s never one to mince words but he’s also one who understands both sides of issues.

“They need to make a decision and quit waiting around. Football is not a life changer per se under the circumstances at hand,” Perry said.

Perry knows that seniors who just graduated missed out 2020 spring high school sports season. Baseball, softball, track and tennis won’t get their seasons back. However, he doesn’t think unnecessary risks should be taken just to play football.

“We don’t need to have deaths of teens before we can decide (about playing football). Allow us to keep working with kids even if we can’t play. We have to be imaginative in what we do to keep kids active and healthy at the same time,” Perry said.

“Maybe basketball will be able to play. If not, maybe baseball or other spring sports. If things change maybe football can have an extended spring that possibly involves a game or two (scrimmage formats).”

I think high school coaches agree moving football to the spring would be a last resort. However, I like Perry’s point about finding a way to let coaches still work with athletes even if there is not a season and about limiting football in the spring if the season is lost.

“The bottom line is that until the number of recoveries is greater than the number of confirmations on a daily basis nationwide C-19 is winning. The mission right now needs to be on beating that virus,” Perry said. “Seems that there are a lot of people out there that don’t fear the virus until themselves or family members are affected.

“If we can play, lets play. If there is that much doubt, then its obvious that we need to look at other avenues of helping our youth stay active.”

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