Columbia Star

COVID-19 impacts scheduling again

In normal times there is no shortage of work for football coaches during the week leading to a season opener.

But these aren’t normal times and the challenges for coaches––especially new ones––in the age of COVID can be overwhelming. Ridge View’s Derek Howard has had to scramble this week following an announcement from one of his team’s non-region opponents.

On Monday, August 16 Class AAAAA-Region 6 teams announced they will face each other twice this season instead of playing a non-region schedule.

That left the Blazers with an opening on their schedule, since they were scheduled to face Carolina Forest on September 24.

“I wasn’t surprised because you follow the news and look at the rise of COVID cases; it was just a matter of time before it would affect high schools and athletics,” Howard said.

Howard said he had not reached out to any other schools prior to Monday’s announcement but watched for teams looking for a replacement game.

Howard moved quickly. Ridge View will now host Dorman on September 24.

The new Blazers’ coach said last year’s challenges helped prepare him for this year’s.

“It helps a lot, not just with scheduling but also with understanding the changes that are going to happen last minute and being flexible enough to adjust based on the needs of your kids,” Howard said. “In some cases, you may gain or lose a home game, and people are understanding after dealing with these same situations last year.”

Ridge View wasn’t the only school impacted by Monday’s announcement. Blythewood was scheduled to travel to Sumter on September 10 and host Conway September 17.

COVID has also impacted Airport. The Eagles were scheduled to open their season with the Swansea Tigers on August 20, but that game was cancelled. Airport added Crestwood, but that game has since been cancelled because of a positive test result for Crestwood. The Eagles are now scheduled to host Chapin….but at this point, who knows?

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