When there’s less time to prepare for a game, talent usually wins out.
Some high school football coaches in the area have compared scheduling games this year during the pandemic to the playoffs, where you hope to play next week but don’t always know who the opponent will be.
Scheduling has been hit and miss for all three teams in Wayne County. Each including Wayne, Tolsia and Spring Valley have missed scheduled games this year because either they couldn’t play or their opponent could not because of a number of factors involving the virus.
That leads to teams sneaking more than one game in a week’s time on the schedule just to make up for lost time.
The Timberwolves had discussions about doing it earlier this season, but Kanawha County’s color designation took away the possibility of the SVHS football team playing two games in a three day span, but the Wayne Pioneers pulled it off this week.
After a loss to Midland Trail Friday night the Pioneers turned around and played a game at Lincoln County Friday night on just two days rest. Coach Tom Harmon joked that he felt more rested after not having a full week of practice leading up to the game but said the short break between games took away many aspects of what a coach is able to do during that time.
“It’s not an ideal situation when you don’t have a chance to prepare and the coaching part of kind of goes out the window when you don’t have those three or four days to take away what somebody does best or to watch film when you play in consecutive games,” Harmon said.
Short rest or preparation for opponents means the game is more about player talent than coaching skill. Lincoln County did not play a game last week and they’re color designation on the COVID-19 risk map allowed them to only hold conditioning workouts. While rested, the Panthers also were short on prep time but squeezed in two practices over the weekend ahead of Monday’s game.
The Pioneers, for what it’s worth, seemed to hold their own against the Panthers in the first half, but fatigue may have gotten to them in the final two quarters as Lincoln County poured on four second half touchdowns to win 34-14. Or maybe the Panthers just had a little more talent.
Either way, Wayne sits at 1-3 and now faces another quick turnaround, hoping to get as much practice in as possible before Chapmanville rolls into Pioneer Field Friday night. It will be the third game in seven days for Wayne.
“We’ll get on some film tonight,” Harmon said Monday night, “try and get a game-plan together and get at least three practices in. Having those practice days you can make teams do what they don’t want to do if you have the time to work it out.”