Football season ends early


Maggie Dickman

The boys football team waits to start a drill. Their season ended three games early due to a player testing positive for COVID.

After a player contracted COVID-19, the Messwood football season ended abruptly, as most players had been in close contact with the player.

The team took several precautions during the season to prevent an outbreak: masks were used, the team split into smaller groups for social distancing and footballs were disinfected frequently. 

“If we were inside, we kept kids in smaller groups, and had masks on,” said JD Optekar, a volunteer assistant coach. “If we were outside, the coaches had masks on, and we tried to keep the kids in smaller pods.” 

Even with extra precautions in the weight room, the last three games and the rest of the practices were cancelled after a player who later tested positive for COVID-19 was in the weight room with several teammates. 

Had COVID not gotten rid of our last few games, we would have seen a much better performance.

— Robert Gronert, freshman

“The weight room is very condensed, so if you have a case in there, you’re going to have a lot more ramifications and consequences,” said Robert Gronert, freshman. 

The end to the season came at a particularly unfortunate time. After losing their first two games, Messwood won 32-28 against West Allis Central in their last game. The team was starting to feel like they were back on track and ready to finish off the season successfully, which contributed to the disappointment when the last three games were cancelled. 

“Had COVID not gotten rid of our last few games, we would have seen a much better performance,” Gronert said. “Maybe even winning out the rest of the season.” 

This is not the first significant change caused by the virus. In addition to delaying the season from fall to winter, the pandemic also caused the team to miss their first game. 

“We had our first game cancelled due to COVID, and then at the first game we played we just weren’t really ready. We didn’t play well,” Gronert said. 

Though they have been put in an undesirable situation, the team is taking it in stride, and using the extra time as an opportunity to prepare for next season.

They take advantage of any opportunity presented to them… I think they’ll be able to bounce back.

— JD Optekar, assistant coach

“If anything, you could actually make good out of it, because you could say we have more time to practice for next season now,” Ghojallu said. 

“They’re resilient,” Optekar said. “They take advantage of any opportunity presented to them… I think they’ll be able to bounce back.”

Optekar has already seen players working out on their own, and practicing among themselves. Some players even  joined the track team in order to improve their speed, agility and stamina for next season.

Despite the unfortunate end to the already shortened season, the team has very high hopes for the future. The freshman class is large and promising, and there are only two seniors on the team, so most of the team will be returning next year. 

“Our team is only getting better, because we have … a good freshman and sophomore class,” Ghojallu said. “It’ll only be up from here.”

As for next season, the team has their eyes on a title. They hope to win conference. 

“We gotta roll with the punches,” Gronert said. “Hopefully next year we’ll have a really good season… and add another year to the banner in the gym.”