Well, here we are. It’s feeling like the beginning of fall. That usually means weekends packed with college and pro football, hanging out with friends, tailgating and maybe general shenanigans surrounding those previous three things. This, however, is no normal fall. This is the new normal fall, with very few NC sports to watch.
College and pro football kicked off in the state, but there was minimal fanfare and no fans. Coaches and officials wore masks.
College Football Update
On Thursday, the Charlotte 49ers and North Carolina Tar Heels announced the cancellation of this weekend’s game in Chapel Hill. The decision came after members of Charlotte’s offensive line were quarantined following positive tests for coronavirus within that position group, according to a story from ESPN.
That was the second college football game featuring a team from this state to be either postponed or canceled.
Roughly two weeks before the start of the season, NC State and Virginia Tech made the decision to postpone their Sept. 12 game. The reason: a cluster of 27 coronavirus cases in NC State’s athletic department, according to an August story from ABC11 in Durham.
N.C. State and Wake Forest’s game Saturday was the first event for the Wolfpack athletic program this fall.
North Carolina, Wake Forest and Appalachian State opened their respective seasons Sept. 12 with home games, and Duke played a road game that day against Notre Dame. The Carolina Panthers followed suit the next day with a home game in Charlotte.
No fans were allowed at any of those games because the state is in Phase 2.5 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Safer at Home order. App State receiver Thomas Hennigan published a Twitter post asking Cooper to change his mind and allow parents to attend games.
The order stayed in place.
But the parents of Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds got creative. They drove an RV up the mountain from their home in Davie County to Boone and watched the game from outside the stadium.
What’s going on with high school athletics?
Roughly 400 high school athletic programs governed by the NC High School Athletic Association won’t play sports during the traditional fall season. The association announced in August that fall sports are delayed until either the winter 2020 or spring 2021 sports seasons.
Here’s what it means for football: high school teams can’t practice until Feb. 8, 2021. That, however, didn’t stop a couple of coaches in the Triad.
West Forsyth head coach Adrian Snow and Eastern Guilford assistant coach Mitch Mitchener created a 7-on-7 football league for interested players in the area, according to a story from The News & Record in Greensboro.
7-on-7 football features players at the skill positions on offense and defense. Basically, it’s football without the offensive and defensive lines.
Games and lineman camps will be held at facilities west of Winston-Salem and north of Greensboro. The season ends Oct. 30.
Private schools are are also getting creative.
Fall sports scrimmages and games for teams playing in N.C. Independent Schools Association started this week. The NCISAA, often called the private schools association, sponsors boys soccer, football, field hockey and volleyball during the fall sports season.
Football practice for NCISAA members started the week of Sept. 8, and games are scheduled to start the week of Sept. 21. The association sponsors 8-man and 11-man football.