By Amanda Dronzek
As the 2021 winter season for EGHS comes to a close, the Avengers have started training and practicing for the upcoming spring season, hoping to make up for what COVID took from them in 2020. Normally the football team takes the field in September, building up to the playoffs which take place in November. Rather than playing on brisk Friday nights under the lights, the football team has their season starting in the brink of spring. Because of COVID, 2020 became a lost cause for most EGHS sports, including football. After almost 2 years, the Avengers have a chance to get back to the top and repeat 2019’s stellar season. Many of the football players have had athletics overlap with football this year, as many of them play basketball and hockey. Both seasons have just finished, keeping the boys on their toes.
Junior Chad Coppola, who starts for the EGHS basketball team has spent his 2021 seasons back to back. As the playoffs for basketball are already underway, football practices are just around the corner. “Basketball and football overlap this year so there’s no break in between, but it’s really not bad at all,” Coppola remarks. The ability to keep playing games for months on end may have been a blessing in disguise for these boys, as 2 seasons in a row for many of the players has given student athletes a chance to socialize more with their peers. Under normal circumstances, the sports seasons have large gaps of time where some athletes aren’t doing anything, making it harder for them to form better relationships. As Coppola states, “Obviously with a shortened season there is less time for younger guys to acclimate to the playbook and defensive schemes, but I think the kids who have played for the high school previously won’t have a lot to worry about.” With high hopes for this year’s football season, Coppola’s main goal is to just go out and win games. This past year has been home to so many losses in the athletic world and after a year and a half, these boys have finally gotten the chance to come out and show their strength as a team.
For some players, 2019 was their first season with the Avenger’s football team, making this upcoming season even more exciting. A lot has happened since 2019, meaning there has been an abundance of time to prepare for the season and work harder than ever to bring home a championship. Junior Owen Drolet, who was new to the team in the fall two years ago is hoping to take on a more important role on the team and hopefully lead the boys to victory. “Having the seasons condensed will promote challenges in terms of getting myself ready for baseball as that is my number one sport. But I’m confident I can find a way to time manage and get myself where I want to be while balancing football as well.” Drolet is willing to do whatever he can this year to help the team improve, along with refining his own skills to become the best player he can under these strange circumstances. “It’s going to be a grind every single day but we have coaches here that I’m very confident in and will make sure we’re in the best sport to compete on the field come Friday nights.”
Just as 2019 was some of the player’s first seasons, 2021 has become many of the senior’s last seasons to wear the uniform, go out, and play football for the high school. Senior and captain Keegan Leary has shared his hopes for the season, as well as his thoughts on this year’s competition. “This season change has been strange because normally football is so ingrained in my life during the fall. The overlap with winter sports is challenging because we have 8 guys who are currently competing in basketball playoffs, including our two other captains.” Leary says that this is the first year the football team has competed in D1, making it a memorable year for the school as a whole. “We can expect every game to be a battle from start to finish. Despite our long hiatus from football, I think all of the players are ready to prove themselves in D1.” With just one year left to play with kids he’s been playing with all of high school, Keegan hopes to go out and make this last season something special. “We’ve lost the ability to have a season like I’ve known in the past 3 years, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent the team as a captain and to play alongside my teammates one last time. I’m not planning on playing at the next level, so I will do my best to make this season one to remember.” As COVID cases have been going down and vaccinations have been mass distributed, things have started looking up. The EGHS 2021 football season is here. After over a year of anxiously waiting for a chance to go all the way, the Avengers will make this season memorable to all.