Football Kicks off an Unprecedented Season

Davis Cuffe and Emma Hamrick

Through COVID precautions and weather cancellations varsity football kicked off Tuesday night! Our Falcons were able to get off to a strong start and rolled over Cary 37-7. While this season looks to be much different than seasons past, our Falcons seem to have had no trouble with the new COVID changes. Tuesday’s game was dominated by senior Andrew Wegerski who had over 250 all-purpose yards and 4.5 tackles. When asked about his star performance Andrew humbly stated, “It felt great to get back on the field, I missed it so much and I’m just super grateful to even have a season this year.” We later asked Andrew about how the game was different from years past and Andrew expressed that things were “really different” due to the lack of pregame locker room meetings. Andrew said that the teams’ focus was what helped get them to adapt to the changes and get the win. 

According to junior guard Austin Turner, even the training was different leading up to the game. He told us that, “The training was absolutely different. Everyday we have to be 6 feet apart and wear masks. Every time we come to practice we have to get our temperature checked and we are asked questions relating to COVID. We couldn’t even actually hit each other with pads until a couple days before the game.”

  Senior tackle Jackson Stone also expressed that the preparation was different. He said that the limited field time due to the season being played at the same time as spring sports was really something that hindered them leading up to the game, “The Cary game and the 2021 season has been different in many ways. Not only have we had to deal with a bunch of schedule changes but also having to make the most out of the limited practice and field time we got, due to playing at the same time as spring sports. We all know how important this season is so we all have been locked in and try to be the best team we can be.”

A sentiment all three shared was that this win against Cary was huge, best said by Jackson Stone, “This win was big. We have the confidence and momentum to head-on into the Panther Creek game knowing we have a really good chance of beating them. And for us seniors, it was amazing to get back on the field and have everything work out for us.” Be sure to support our team through this unprecedented season. 

With football starting up so did band. For the first time in over a year, Green Hope’s marching band attended a football game. Even though the band wasn’t performing a halftime show, and the number of members was a fifth of the regular size, they were there to support the team. Only around thirty members of the Green Hope Marching Band functioned as a mini pep band for Tuesday’s game. 

There were a lot of emotions running through the band section. For many members of the marching band, this was the first time that they had seen each other since before quarantine started. Senior Evan Villani said, “I’ll say it felt really good to feel so much energy again, I love our band members and playing at the games. Definitely the best part of my day.” During the game, you could see the members talking amongst themselves and catching up when they weren’t playing music. But the performance was also quite bittersweet. The tunes the band normally played during football games weren’t as impactful as they used to be; the songs hadn’t been practiced in a year and the band was about 120 members smaller than normal. 

Photo captured by Emma Hamrick

Another concern held by the band members was the meager number of people at the game. Trumpet player Gigi Pizzo stated, “There was a lack of people in the stands, but that’s understandable due to the cold weather that night. However, with the crowd that was there, there was not much social distancing happening.” In years past, the band relied on the student section to sing along with the songs that they knew, such as “Hey Baby” and “Seven Nation Army”, but with the scarce number of fans, it put a damper on the energy made by the pep band. Without those extra voices, many of the tunes played by the band felt lackluster.  Although there were only a handful of audience members, many of them were congregating together rather than socially distancing, which had many people worried. Unlike the crowd, the pep band was fairly distanced from one another: sitting on the track in chairs that had been spaced apart. Even with the concerns about the crowd, the band members thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the football game, albeit quite different from what they had been used to in the past.