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Coaches, players react to delay in football season

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Friday night lights won’t turn on as soon as players and coaches hoped after athletic seasons and practices are pushed as a result of Governor Laura Kelly’s order to delay the start of school.

“One of my biggest fears is not being able to have a senior season,” said Ashton Ngo, senior football player at Andover High School. “Just working to get this far and not even me, but multiple people from my school and schools all over the place, they’re wanting to go to college for sports like this.”

While some coaches and players said they understand the reason for protecting everyone during this time, others believe their districts were already well-prepared.

Steve Martin, Wichita Northwest High School head football coach, said he’s seen the tireless work of USD 259 officials and witnessed the stock of materials to protect students and teachers this school year.

“It’s one of those things we’re just going to have to take in stride,” said Martin. “It’s out of our hands. I was very confident in my district’s leadership. I know they have us and the kids at heart. I was just hoping we would give our leaders a chance to lead.”

Players said they have been working their whole lives for their senior year of sports. This summer, players have been lifting weights and conditioning to prepare for the season.

“All of the players are really upset with the season going on right now, but right now we’re just keeping our heads up and hoping for a season,” said Nathan Hale, senior football player at Wichita Northwest High School.”

As of now, that season won’t start until after Sept. 9.

Some players are worried for the future of their athletic careers.

“We’re worried that the colleges won’t reach out to us and then they won’t see our potential with the whole film,” said Hale. “If our whole season gets canceled, we can’t get the film out to the colleges.”

Coach Martin said he’s trying to keep his players’ heads up and encourage them as they navigate through the unknown.

Martin said his players have been wearing masks while indoors and separate pods are being used for players to keep their distance, as well as sanitizing and proper hygiene.

“This is what your coaches talk about all the time with adversity,” said Martin. “It’s how you’re going to respond to this. You have something that’s affecting us, so what’s your reaction going to be? Do your part, keep your chin up and press on because we’re going to get through it.”

It’s unclear when the Kansas State High School Activities Association will release its plan. Board members are expected to review Governor Kelly’s order next week and release a plan at a later date.

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