PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There were no fall Friday Night Lights in 2020. West Linn coach Chris Miller will never know if this year’s seniors would’ve walked the road to a state championship.
“I’ve got a great group of 26 or 28 seniors and it’s one of those state championship type teams,” Miller said.
He doesn’t want to spend time dwelling on the past. What he wants is for that group of young men to play some football before they graduate, ” to get out and compete for 5 or 6 weeks and at least have some semblance of a season, create some lifelong lasting memories they can look back on a positive manner.”
In December, the Oregon School Activities Association revised the calendar for the delayed 2020-21 high school sports season and, according to that calendar, high school football kicks off official practice on February 8.
On Tuesday, the OSAA discussed alternatives for football and volleyball if Governor Brown doesn’t lift the ban, including 7-on-7, flag football, virtual lineman challenges,
Cross-country, soccer and volleyball all start practice February 22, but volleyball is faced with a restriction since only 47 schools with volleyball could play based on county metrics.
The OSAA will meet again on Monday.
Like many other teams, the Lions have been practicing a few times a week but without suiting up.
“We get together about 3 or 4 days a week and do about an hour-and-a-half workout, which is what we’re allowed to do,” he said. “COVID’s been tough on them. I mean, they’re sitting at home staring at a computer screen all day long learning. Thank goodness we can get outside and interact and kind of cut up and laugh and do some football-oriented things and talk some life and have some face-to-face time.”
Janica Duncan and other parents have been advocating for Oregon to lift its ban on contact sports.
“I just want my son to be able to do what he loves the most,” Duncan told KOIN 6 News. “It’s hard when we all have COVID around us, yet the only difference between what kids are or are not able to do is solely dependent on who their governor is.”
She said for some kids, sports is paramount for their mental health and she worries about the impact of a continued ban.
“Kids in Oregon, they’ve really been left with nothing to hope for,” she said. “And hope is a really powerful thing.”