DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Seventeen-year-old Sam Morse has spent months worried he might miss out on playing football during his upcoming senior year at Highland Park High School.
“We can do online school, but we cannot do online football,” said the football captain.
That’s why an announcement by the UIL delaying the start of the football practice by a month until Labor Day for the larger 5A and 6A conference schools came as a relief.
“I was really nervous the whole season all together was going to be cancelled,” said Morse.
Duncanville High School football player, Roderick Daniels, Jr, took the news as a sign the league is committed to letting the season take place.
“I was very excited,” he said.
He’d also been wondering what fall would look like.
“All I know is August to December… football. That’s all I know my whole life,” said Daniels.
Now he’s curious what measures the league will take to keep players safe.
Social distancing may work for fans, but on the field, players are engaged in a contact sport.
“We’ve got to grab and touch each other just to make tackles and make plays, so it’s going to be hard,” he said.
He knows people who’ve recovered from the COVID-19, and he’s seen stories of people who’ve died.
He doesn’t want to diminish efforts being made to prevent further spread of the virus.
“We’re trying to be safe while we’re doing this,” he said.
He also knows, though, this will be the last chance for some teammates to nab a football scholarship.
“I know some seniors, I have some friends who don’t have any offers at all,” he said.
Back in Highland Park, sophomore Cece Gooch was happy to hear volleyball would also be allowed to start on Labor Day, just a month later than usual.
“I’m really excited to get back on the court with my teammates,” she said.
She and other student athletes are wary, though, knowing circumstances can change.
“During the school year, we were supposed to go back to school but then they kept pushing it back to where we didn’t get to go back to school,”
She trusts there will be safety precautions, though.
“That’s something that kind of puts me at ease,” she said.
Whatever it is she needs to do, she says she’s ready.
“It’s worth it if I get to play with my teammates,” she said.