After 466 days off of the field, Freeman’s football team finally made their return in a triumphant 48-0 victory over rival Godwin. This victory kicked off a Freeman football season that is unlike any other.
The football season started in late February instead of the normal August kickoff date, an adjustment that has led to changes from timing to weather. In a normal year, the football team begins their practices in August, with practices sometimes running from seven in the morning to one in the afternoon.
This year, the first practices were held in February. The team had to schedule around the school day, which does not allow for the six hour practices of the summer. Additionally, in what had to be a first, the football team had several practices cancelled due to winter weather. “Practice at the beginning of the season was rough due to the cold and snow, but now that it’s gotten warmer it feels like fall practice again,” said junior defensive end Eddie Allen.
Another difference this year has been the lack of the full crowd and lively student section at football games. While the bleachers would be filled with screaming fans in a normal season, each player is allowed to have two tickets for family members for home games and one ticket for away games this year.
This attendance restriction has been felt by the DSF football team and students alike, “It’s sad that we can’t go to the games, but I know that there is a good reason for it. I’m just hoping we will be back to normal next year,” said junior Sydney Greiner. “We definitely miss having all of the fans and our fantastic student section, but we haven’t really let that take way from this season,” said senior quarterback and team captain Andrew Bland.
While most fans might not be able to watch the football team in person, fans can steam most after-school sporting events, including football games. The Freeman YouTube channel can be found by searching for “DSF student activities” on YouTube. “I like the streams because I can still see the games and not feel like I’m completely missing out this year, but nothing compares to being in the student section,” said Sydney.
Even if it’s not a normal year, the team and school community are still excited about the return of football and fall sports. “It’s certainly exciting to take any significant step back to normal life here at Freeman. More than that, I’m excited for all of our fall sports athletes, each of whom is so passionate about their sports and activities, who get to do what they love again in a Freeman uniform,” said Freeman principal John Marshall. Despite it not being the same as a regular year, having football has given a sense of normalcy to some players in a year that is anything but normal. “We’ve learned how fortunate we are to play high school football, and this past year has taught us not to take it for granted. Instead of dreading the bad things like missing the fans, we’ve appreciated the chance to play together and make unforgettable memories,” said Andrew.