Pandemic Impact

A winter sports season? Not a great solution for this Massachusetts coach

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that has postponed high school football until the winter season. Not all coaches are happy about the shift in seasons.

Milton High (Mass.) coach Steve Dembowski, who has a career record of 155-80, recently shared his thoughts with FNF Coaches.

What was your initial reaction to the decision to postpone the season?

“I understand the concern and decision not to play because of COVID-19 and feel this experience can be a reminder to all of us that nothing is guaranteed. We need to move forward and adjust.”

I’d imagine it will be difficult to practice outdoors in Massachusetts starting in February? What’s your plan for preseason workouts?

“Practicing outdoors in February is going to be tough and in some cases may be impossible, however the MIAA is allowing us to have ‘out-of-season’ contact with our athletes so hopefully we will be able to condition them and prepare them with Zoom calls for installation of concepts to avoid down time.”

How do you think it will impact the team’s style of play?

“Playing in games in March will likely require some offensive adjustments to handle weather conditions. The whole format of the season has not been announced yet but it will likely require many adjustments from the normal pre-season and style of play.”

How will you handle the fall for training purposes?

“The MIAA is allowing us to work with our players as long we follow the state regulations and our principal agrees with it. We would like to offer some workouts and skill development but we have no idea if this includes equipment. Hopefully all coaches are allowed this opportunity or the playing field could be tilted.”

Will you lose any players due to the change of seasons?

“There is a chance that some our athletes could choose not to play. Massachusetts is a big hockey state, also strong in baseball and lacrosse but hopefully we pick up a few athletes that may help us. It certainly is going to be different.”

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk