Varsity Football Quarantined

Bears+setting+up+to+run+a+play.

Photo by Madissyn Moore

Bears setting up to run a play.

By Madissyn Moore, Reporter

Football at Palmer Ridge is a big deal and many were upset when the football season was initially pushed back to spring. Surprisingly, CHSAA gave teams the opportunity to choose between the postponed season and the fall season. Palmer Ridge decided to keep their spot in the fall to play in the normally-scheduled playoffs. Supporters of our Bears were ecstatic to know that the excitement of enjoying a football game was something they could still experience.

The Bears have performed phenomenally, winning 4-0 and currently placing third in the state. The last game they played was against Montrose, who gave the Bears a run for their money. In the first half of the game, Montrose had the lead with a score of 14-0. 

During half-time, the Bears pulled together and pushed back. “I think the factor that helped us come back and win was us understanding that Montrose couldn’t hang with us. They were sloppy in the second half, we weren’t,” says the junior team captain, Connor Jones. 

Marcellus Reed, senior team captain, said, “At half time, the speech that Coach Pulford gave [us] and how we all came out as one and fought was what helped the most. No team can beat Palmer Ridge when we play as a unit.” Both Montrose’s lack of efficiency and Palmer Ridge’s teamwork helped our Bears overcome and win. They beat Montrose with a score of 42-20.

The Bears showed that regardless of the changes made this season due to COVID-19, they would still show up, represent what they stand for, and win. Unfortunately, their winning reign has come to a halt due to one of the player’s family members catching COVID-19. 

Most of the varsity team, as well as the coaches, were put on a two week quarantine and their game against Fruita Monument was postponed. Principal Dr. Terry Bramschreiber said, “Not the entire team [is in quarantine], but a big chunk of them. In fact, the whole freshman team wasn’t in contact so they’re still able to play.”

“There was a football player who had a family member who was positive and he happened to come down with symptoms, so from what we understand he caught it from his family member [and is presumed to be positive.]” Dr. Bramschreiber said.

Some students and teachers have expressed concerns that the players have not always followed COVID-19 guidelines during practices, school-sanctioned events, and during their time together outside of school. Keep in mind that these were simply rumors floating around the school, and The Bear Truth was not able to confirm these reports.

At the Trunk-or-Treat event on Saturday, October 31, the majority of the participating students followed the appropriate COVID-19 mask mandates. However, some people were concerned that certain clubs were not following them as well as others.

For football’s group, Marcellus Reed said, “There were times when our masks did come down due to food and beverages being consumed.” In defending the team, Connor Jones said, “We were not the only car not following the guidelines. But we were [following them] as far as how many people [we had] per car. We had two cars, one was princess [themed] and one was Harry Potter [themed]. As far as the mask situation, we kept them up as much as possible, but that isn’t fair to call us out when I saw cars without masks on either.” 

“I’ve never heard that, but if it is true, then they need to understand that their decisions affect everyone else,” said Isaac Heidel, senior wide receiver and safety, when asked about the Trunk-or-Treat. 

The football team at the Trunk-or-Treat

While the varsity football team has been the only sport to be fully quarantined, every sport at Palmer Ridge has been following the same guidelines. “I’ve spent a lot of time out on the field with every single sport this fall, telling people to put their masks on and to spread out,” said Athletic Director Lance McCorkle.

“My overall goal, and I said it before, is I want people to have a season. I want them to finish. For us to finish this season, we need to wear our masks, social distance, [and] follow what CHSSA’s rules are. I am consistent across the board. My goal is to make sure our kids get to participate,” said McCorkle.

McCorkle has ensured that although it is harder in a contact sport to social distance, the football team follows CHSSA’s guidelines. Everyone on the field has to wear masks unless they are participating and they also stay in groups of 25. Also, before each practice, the football players do temperature screenings and they are not allowed to share water bottles.  

This has been a challenge for the varsity football team to be quarantined in the midst of their season, but they have pulled through. They have missed two games due to the quarantine, but according to Dr. Bramschreiber, “Those two games we missed don’t go down as forfeits; they’re called no-contests, so they don’t hurt against us. Basically, we have a record of 4-0 going in.”

The football team will be released from quarantine just in time to play in the varsity playoff game against Pine Creek High School, this Saturday, November 21, at Don Breese Stadium at 1:00 p.m. The Bear Truth will be covering this game as well, for those who cannot attend it.