Catawba Game Cancelled (Non-Aprils Fool Edition)
Per a release from Catawba College Athletics, their football team is canceling the remaining two games on their Spring schedule due to Covid-19 related quarantines and injury issues. Per the release, "South Atlantic Conference (SAC) protocols dictate programs have a minimum of 53 players available to compete on the football field. With the injuries and COVID-19 quarantines, Catawba is unable to field the minimum number to compete."
We extend our best wishes to the Catawba community as I'm sure all of us have had someone affected by the actual Covid-19 illness. Hopefully those in quarantine will not experience the worst parts of the virus and they'll feel like a million bucks in no time.
Now, from the Barton College Football view point...
Although Barton finishes the season winless, the team was definitely peaking in terms of cohesion and flow at the end. There has been a steady improvement each week regardless of what the final score showed. You could see it with Jaquan Lynch's play at QB, Jordan Terrell's continued grinding running style as games progressed, and versus Newberry, a Bulldog defense that forced turnovers and played hard and fast. And how could I forget the wide receiver corps busting out their best Odell Beckham Jr impression each week. Seriously, those guys were making some very impressive catches with defenders all over them each week. I'm not sure if they were playing rock paper scissors each to see who would make the impressive catch, but several receivers shows some impressive skills this season.
There are many things to be excited about when you take a 30,000 foot view of the program. As the program continues to grow you can zoom in on more particulars. But at this stage you have to keep an overall view of things.
Lots of youth getting playing time (102 freshmen on a roster of 121 players)
The school invests in the program. Even with an unprecedented pandemic disrupting the inaugural season you have facility investment (the future David S. Hicks Family Sports Operations Center).
Overwhelming support from not only the Wilson community but also the Eastern NC and Triangle region in NC.
During discussions with head coach Chip Hester, I have mentioned multiple times that having only a half season actually plays into the favor of an upstart program. Why do I believe this?
There is a smaller sample size for the players; it's not as overwhelming for true freshmen starting day one in college for double digit games.
A shorter season reduces the full season wear and tear on their bodies.
They get the chance to see how the program structure stands up against more established programs.
It gives the coaches a better view of the players competing instead of limited spring practices and a final scrimmage.
Players enjoy hitting other teams instead of their teammates who they practice against. Trust me on this.
It presents more views of players going full speed and not in a "controlled setting" like the practices and scrimmage.
I admit, it's deflating knowing that the Bulldogs were on an upward trajectory over the past few weeks. But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. The players to get to scrimmage against Louisburg College on April 11th. Louisburg College, a two-year college that has been a platform for players to go to D1 & D2 programs for several years now, will present a unique opportunity for Barton to now have a week off to rest up and work certain plays in a controlled environment like the scrimmage. "Bazooka" sounds like a winner (hint hint, nudge nudge).
So, let's continue to be thankful for what we have and the work we have put in to get to this point. Hopefully the pandemic will continue to trend downward and we can do this the right way come Fall 2021.