ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — McQuaid football completed their historic 2019 season with a heartbreaking loss in the state final. The juniors, underclassmen, and coaches walked off the field with a shared goal for the 2020 season – bring home the title.
The Knights will not have that opportunity to do that this fall following the NYSPHSAA’s cancellation of the fall sports state championships.
At this point, head coach Bobby Bates is just excited for an opportunity to get back on the field with his guys.
“I hope that we can proceed and practice, and we can have a goal we’re going to work towards because there’s nothing better than being part of a team,” said Bates.
Bates is not alone. Coaches across Section V can host football practice beginning on September 21, but cannot play games until further notice.
Even with the giant question mark surrounding competitive play, their approach to coaching remains the same – get their players as close to game shape as they can within state regulations.
Jason Collins, head coach of Rush-Henrietta’s football team, meeting with his players virtually back in March to get them to start thinking about the upcoming season.
“When summer hit, we hit the ground running on Google Meet with installs for offense and defense,” said Collins. “We sent our kids workouts we designed that they could do at home in their basement, in their living room, or outside.”
“It came to a point where there was so much uncertainty we were like, ‘Hey guys, you can’t worry about the decisions that are being made. Your only job is to get into the best shape you can be in come football time, whenever that may happen’,” said Bates.
With the possibility of no games being played this fall, Bates and his staff are helping his players get videos of individual drill work, an “offseason highlight” to send to college coaches in lieu of a traditional tape.
The possibility of a full spring football season has not been ruled out yet by the NYSPHSAA or Section V, which is something Bates believes would be helpful.
“If the state gives us the green light to play in a few weeks, we’ll hit the ground running, but playing in the spring would be preferable,” said Bates. “If they said, ‘You can have 20 practices from now to Thanksgiving,’ I’d be all over that. We can do drills, do 7 on 7s, and basically have pseudo college spring ball.”
“If it gets pushed to spring, we’ll adjust our plans and go from there,” said Collins.
At the end of the day, football is football, and both coaches plan to take advantage of every moment they have with their teams.
“I’m getting chills thinking about it, the first time we step on that field with our players it’s going to be pretty emotional for everybody,” said Collins. “To think about that opportunity that’s coming is exciting.”