LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — High school football is one step closer to having more games in 2020. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Committee unanimously voted to allow teams to play up to 10 games per season, exclusive of sectional championships. That opens the door for “Week Zero” games to take the place of preseason scrimmages this fall. However, this victory is no guarantee that more games will actually be played given the current sports landscape.
“You want to get excited,” said Stillwater football coach Ian Godfrey. “I want to get with my staff and my kids right now, but it’s like we don’t know if that’s gonna happen.” Godfrey admits he’s tempering his excitement. He had been eagerly awaiting this vote, as the longtime rivalry game against Mechanicville was hanging in the balance with the Warriors moving down to Class D.
“It gives us a light potentially at the end of the tunnel, something to look forward to, something to put our focus towards,” Godfrey said.
“It’ll be the first game of the season,” said Mechanicville head coach Craig Cavotta. “It would be great, a great way for sports to come back.” Cavotta says the Indian Bowl game in week zero would be the “perfect recipe” for return.
“If we could get back into school and know that’s gonna happen, I think there would be a great turnout. I think both teams, both coaching staffs, everyone would be excited. WE just want things to be back to normal like they used to be.”
That kind of “normal” might not come around for a long time, if ever. The Capital Region is currently in phase one of New York State’s reopening plan. Schools and sports can return in phase four, and when those criteria are met, there could be new guidelines to follow.
“You have that one image of what it would look like under normal circumstances,” Godfrey explained, “and then you have what it would look like now. I think even if it was just us and our kids and the Mechanicville kids on that field, I think it’s a step in the right direction.” When asked how difficult it would be for the fans to possibly be shut out of that game, Godfrey said he’s not sure how authorities would keep them out. He understands how important the rivalry is for the communities, but he acknowledged that flexibility is key right now.
“It would be pretty special for us to be able to play that week zero game, but for us to play any game would be fantastic.”