Football Players Adjusting to COVID-19


Football at Blue Valley North has been statistically much more successful in the past couple of years than it has been in its total history. Since its first year in 1987, the team has produced a winning percentage of 0.494. This number has greatly increased. Before 2017, the team had never made it to a state championship, let alone won one. Now, four seasons later, the team has three state appearances and one state championship under their belt.

With COVID-19, looming players had to take precautions to be able to continue playing. For starters like Junior Henry Martin, this means staying healthy to avoid missing an opportunity to play. 

“We would avoid going out and big gatherings and in general followed the COVID guidelines,” Martin said.

Martin admits that, due to COVID-19, this team has seen many changes implemented. Having to practice in masks was a new challenge the team overcame. 

“Next year, we will probably still wear masks, but hopefully will get back to a normal schedule,” Martin said. “This year we wore masks all the time and even had masks on our helmets.”

Martin has bonded with his team and found ways to still stay connected even with all of the changes being made.

“We had much better senior leaders this year in David Sjoberg and Nikko Taylor and we were a lot closer as a team,” Martin said. 

Senior Jaxson Townsend also felt that the team made the best of the situation. Although they only played five regular-season games, Townsend feels as though this season was still a good way to end his football career.

“We were sad to hear at first that we wouldn’t have friends at the games but the parents brought the energy for us,” Townsend said. “We play for each other and to win so I don’t think it affected us once the season got going.”

Townsend reflected on the many changes brought this season. The team stayed home for some meetings they would typically do in the classroom on Saturday mornings and had new bags to use in absence of locker rooms.

“This season was a lot shorter and we ended up holding film sessions over zoom,” Townsend said. “Using a bag instead of a locker room is nice, but zoom film meetings will stay because coaches get to go home and do them from there.”

The team also saw changes in their bonding activities, but it didn’t change the connections between players, according to Townsend.

“Masks and virtual meetings were the main changes. We didn’t have pregame meals and in-person meetings were held in the PAC so we could spread out. I think for the older guys, we were already close, but for younger guys and guys new to the team they missed out because the team dinners are some of the best part of the season and where we bond most,” Townsend said.

The state championship allowed 1,600 tickets to be bought per school. This allowed for not only the close relatives of players to be allowed in the stadium but also for students to potentially go to their last high school Football game.

“It was fun to get to see all my classmates getting to enjoy the game. I would like to think I play hard no matter what but having fans there cheering us on always helps,” Townsend said.