COVID-19 cancels spring Blue Dragon football

By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor

During the fall, the Hutchinson Community College football team received a lot of attention with their final 10-2 record. 

The football team may not garner as much attention in the spring, especially during this time of COVID-19.

Along with all the other spring sports, football had its spring season canceled as well. 

One person who was specifically disappointed in the canceled spring season is Blue Dragons coach Drew Dallas. This would have been his first spring as head coach for the Blue Dragons, as he was hired to replace Rion Rhoades, who left for an assistant position at the University of Arkansas.

Dallas said he had many expectations for himself and his team.

“Going into my first season, particularly our first spring practice season with new staff members, we were really just looking forward to getting on the field again with the players and strengthening those relationships,” Dallas said. “There would have been some new X’s and O’s and scheme as well but I am confident that with our staff and our players, we will be able to bring those things up to speed quickly whenever we get back out there.”

Another task as a coach is to make sure players are keeping up scholastically. Because of the coronavirus, Dallas and his staff have had to reach out to his players from cell phones.

“Right now, Coach is staying in touch mainly by phone calls and text messages, making sure I’m healthy and also staying on top of all my school work,” sophomore Drake Bolus said.

Dallas makes a point to all his players how their priorities should be set, but also gives them something to do in their downtime.

“We made it clear to our team that their health and academics is the priority during this time.  Football will be back when the right time presents itself, and our players and staff will be ready to go whenever that time may be,” Dallas said. “However, our position coaches have tried to keep football incorporated to some extent so it is not completely absent from their life. We have had zoom meetings, film sessions, sent playbook materials, and more.”

With football not completely missing in their lives, Dallas is also making sure his players are finding a way to stay in shape from the comfort of their homes.

“We have also developed at-home workouts that do not require a gym or weights for them to participate in and are sending those to them on a weekly basis.”

Taking advantage of this quarantined time can also be spent away from school and football.

“I have been watching a lot of ‘The Walking Dead’ when I’m bored at home,” Bolus said.

As for Dallas, he has been using this time to connect with his family.

“I have been able to spend a lot more time with my wife, Heather, and our three kids. If there is a silver lining in this pandemic, I think that is something you will hear echoed across the nation,” Dallas said. “We have been able to check off a lot more boxes on our project list at home and have enjoyed a plethora of board games and anything else we can find to keep up busy and engaged as a family.”

Looking forward to next season, Dallas and the staff have been able to discuss plans for the fall.

“We host Zoom meetings as a staff and are able to communicate effectively through that avenue on a regular basis. We have been able to get ahead in our 2021 recruiting cycle, which has been exciting. Hutchinson Community College has so many great things to sell, so the sooner we can get to visiting with our recruiting prospects about those things, the better,” Dallas said.

Dallas is excited about his first season as head coach and has a strong mindset for the previously successful team.

“We know that if we take care of the little things and trust in the process of doing what it takes to be great, that we have the ability to achieve it. That is our emphasis and that goes for not only on the field but in the classroom,” Dallas said.

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