The road to the 2020 season has not been an easy one for the Chaparral Firebirds.
First, the Arizona high school football season was delayed from its regular start in mid-August to the beginning of October. Then, days before kickoff, the Firebirds had a positive COVID-19 test in the program, shutting down all football activities for two weeks.
The way the quarantine fell it meant that the Firebirds missed three of their scheduled games for the season.
Now in week four, Chaparral is set to take the field on Friday night against Brophy (0-3) for their first game of 2020.
“Our guys are excited,” Chaparral head coach Brent Barnes said. “We’re ready.”
After spending most of the offseason on Zoom and doing virtual workouts, the Firebirds went back to being online during their two-week quarantine in order to stay prepared for when their season got underway.
Last Thursday they were able to return to in-person practices.
“We were on Zoom just about every day, getting together as a team and keeping in touch,” senior wide receiver Max Minor said. “We’ve been doing the most we can.”
Much of the football team has elected to do all online school now to help eliminate the risk of putting their season in jeopardy again.
“(They) have decided that the only chance for them to play football is to not be on campus,” Barnes said. “They don’t want to stay online, but they feel like there’s no choice and I really feel like there is no choice if you want to play.”
While they can’t get together as they normally would to review film and have meetings, or talk Xs and Os in the hallways at school, the Firebirds are making the most of the time they do have together in person.
“The biggest thing right now is keeping the energy at practice,” Minor said. “Just having fun. All that time off could have distanced us, but I think we’ve done a really good job of staying together and strong.”
In a time of so much uncertainty it was hard to stay positive all the time, junior quarterback Brayten Silbor said, but as a team, the Firebirds found a way to stay focused.
“I’ve tried to stay positive,” Silbor said. “Some of the guys have gotten discouraged, I did too, not going to lie. I’ve looked for the positive in things and I can tell you right now, we’re all ready to get back out there.”
Chaparral will have to play five games in order to qualify for the playoffs. This means that they cannot miss another scheduled game.
Drip alert. 💧💧💧 pic.twitter.com/DUwBQepWfS
— Chaparral Football (@ChapfootballAZ) October 15, 2020
As the message has been all year long, the Firebirds will continue to control what they can control, then take things as they come from there.
“At the point that we got shut down, it’d be easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves and complain and cry about it,” Barnes said. “In the end you have to turn your focus immediately to what’s in front of you and what you have to prepare for.”
With a full week back on the field in practice, and plenty of film sessions on Brophy, the Firebirds are more than ready to get on the gridiron on Friday night.
“We’ve had three weeks now preparing for this game,” Minor said. “We’re going to come out strong and ready to play.”
Tune in to Brophy vs. Chaparral – Friday, October 23rd at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm CT on YurView.